SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A private funeral will be held Sunday for longtime San Diego television and radio personality Gloria Penner, who died of Saturday of cancer at age 81.
Penner came to KPBS in 1969 as director of community relations and would later work as a writer and editor for "On-Air" magazine, heading the TV station's production unit and hosting KPBS Radio's "These Days." She also hosted public-affairs TV programs and produced segments for "Nightly Business Report" and "The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour," U-T San Diego reported.
"She was a fighter from day one," Tom Karlo, KPBS' general manager, who began working with Penner in 1973 as an SDSU student, told the newspaper. "She was one of the first women to break into management at KPBS when the ‘good-old boys' were running the station."
For local politicians, interviews with Penner were a required campaign stop. She created and hosted "The Editor's Roundtable" for nearly 14 years. Her final broadcast aired in July.
"Certainly she was an absolute powerhouse," said Laura Walcher of J. Walcher Communications. "She was a great example to many of us, that you can do what you do in a man's world without losing your femininity and grace. She made a major impact on every bit of society that she touched."
Over her career, Penner won seven Emmys, five Golden Mike awards, the San Diego Press Club's Harold Keen Award and the Living Legacy Award from the Women's International Center.
In 2003, the San Diego Chapter of the League of Women Voters created the Gloria Penner Award for Civic Service. Penner herself was the first recipient.
"Gloria was one of a kind," San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders said. "She was very charming, but once the interview started, she never pulled any punches. The term 'softball' was not in her vocabulary."
The Brooklyn, N.Y., native started out as as a high-school English teacher. A class in radio production got her hooked on media, and broadcasting jobs in San Francisco, Hawaii and Washington, D.C., followed.
Penner is survived by her husband, Bill Snyder, her sons Brad Penner and Steve Penner, and two grandchildren. A public celebration of her life is being planned.