Richard Allen Pence has died

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Genealogist & Expert of the Pence Family

Our colleague in the Pence family Richard Allen Pence has died. We are saddened. Dick was a master researcher of Pence family history. He died of a heart attack on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2009.

Richard Allen Pence, Genealogist of the Pence Family
Richard Allen “Dick” Pence

Genealogist Assisted Stray Leaves Research

Dick was very helpful to our researcher, the Leaf Blower, and to our Stray Leaves community. His writing directed us in sorting through the various lines of Pence families. Some are related to our James family, more socially than as kin.

He was the author of a guide to the Pence families of America, part 2: Jacob, Lewis and Henry Pence of Shenandoah (Page) County, Virginia and Champaign County, Ohio; Richard Allen Pence. Fairfax, Va. R.A. Pence, 1982.

Dick also authored “Searching Your Family Tree.”

Autobiography of Dick Pence

The following is Dick’s autobiography, as it appeared on his web site of Pence family genealogy:

Pioneer of Computer Genealogy

“Richard Allen (Dick) Pence is known as one of the pioneers of computer genealogy. He was among the first to see the value of personal computers for genealogical record-keeping and began organizing his records with one of the earliest of these machines in 1978.

“He has written about using computers for genealogy for a wide variety of publications and spoken on this and other genealogical topics before national, state, and local genealogical groups.

“In 1982 he helped organize the National Genealogical Society’s Computer Interest Group (NGS/CIG) and he was for several years editor of the group’s newsletter. He was instrumental in helping the CIG start an electronic bulletin board and is a former sysop of the NGS/CIG BBS. He was a moderator of two genealogy-related electronic message exchanges on the FidoNet amateur BBS network, which at its height of their popularity – before the advent of widespread Internet access – involved well over a thousand BBSs worldwide. In the early 1990s the message flow in one of these, the Genealogy Conference, often reached 700 a day.

“The National Genealogical Society presented him its Award of Merit for his work in computer and on-line genealogy at its Conference in the States in Richmond, Va., in May of 1999. He previously had been a recipient of the Society’s Distinguished Service Award (1986). In 2001, he was among the first group of “pioneers” honored by induction into the Genealogy Technology Hall of Fame by GenTech, an organization dedicated to the effective use of technology in genealogical research and record keeping.

Contributor to the National Genealogical Society

“He has written for the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and the society’s Newsletter. He was a co-author with Paul Andereck, of Computer Genealogy, published by Ancestry, Inc., Salt Lake City, in 1985, and was the editor in 1991 of the revised edition of this widely used guide. He also has been a contributor to Ancestry’s Genealogical Computing as well as the NGS/CIG newsletter.

Pence Family Genealogist

“After moving to the Washington, DC, area in 1967, Pence began actively pursuing his life-long interest in genealogy, with his primary interest being in the Pence family name. While amassing a database of some 12,000 pre-1920 U.S. Pence, he has published two volumes of A Guide to the Pence Families of America. He currently is working on a definitive compilation of his own branch of the Pence family.

Writer and Speaker

“In 1977 and 1980, his six-part series for beginners in genealogy, ‘Searching Your Family Tree,’ was syndicated to some 150 newspapers and magazines in the U.S.

“Pence is a native of South Dakota and a journalism graduate of South Dakota State University, Brookings, and was a weekly newspaperman in South Dakota and Minnesota. He studied technical journalism in the graduate school at Iowa State University, Ames, for three years and was the editor of technical publications there and at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, before entering the association publications field in 1961, where he has served as editor of a number of publications. He is retired as communications counsel for the Arlington, Va.-based National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, where he was a nationally recognized authority in member and public relations projects and political action programs relating to membership organizations. He has been both a consultant and instructor on these topics throughout the nation.

“In 1984, he edited The Next Greatest Thing, an extensive photo history of the first 50 years of rural electrification in the United States. More than 57,000 copies of this 256-page hardcover book are now in print and it received a “Gold Circle” award in 1985 as the outstanding one-time association publication from the American Society of Association Executives.

“He has been a frequent after-dinner speaker at meetings of rural people, where he is noted for his stories about small-town and country America. His latest book is a collection of these and other stories, Two Longs and a Short and Other Tales of the Old West, some of which have previously appeared in publications such as Country and Reminisce.

His Own Pence Family

“Pence and his wife, the former Lillian Llewellyn (Ellyn) Hutto, a native of Jackson, MS, and a retired general music teacher live in the city of Fairfax, Va. Their children: Todd Monroe, a teacher in the Fairfax County schools, is a journalism and education graduate of West Virginia University and also has been a graduate student in English literature there; Robert Chandler is a cinema production graduate of Ithaca College (NY) and is currently working at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC; and Laura Llewellyn received her degree in political science at North Carolina State and lives in Lyons, Colorado, with her husband, Matthew Calvin (Matt) Larson, and their daughter Molly Bellou Larson (born in 2004). Laura works at Planet Bluegrass, an organization which promotes bluegrass and folk music festivals, including the noted one at Telluride each summer.”

A memorial service is planned for January 2010.


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Archibald Bernard Pence Sr.

Dan Pence, President of the James-Younger Gang International, visits Pence graves in Lincoln and Mercer Counties in Kentucky

Maj. James Bridgewater, married to a Pence, chases down the Quantrill, the James brothers, and Pence family cousins.


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One thought on “Richard Allen Pence has died”

  1. Just a minor correction to the above. Although my father suffered his heart attack on Sunday the 22nd as you posted, his passing did not occur until three days later, Wednesday the 25th.

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