Donald Ernest Penley

donald penley

January 21, 1939 ~ February 5, 2022

Born in: Woodfin, NC
Resided in: Asheville, NC

Donald Ernest Penley, 83, passed away Saturday, February 5, 2022, at Mission Hospital.

Mr. Penley was born January 21, 1939, in Asheville to the late Archie P. and Ruth Elizabeth Arrington Penley. He was a graduate of Erwin High School and was a retired truck driver with Ingles. He was an active CB radio operator known by the handle “Matador”.

His grandchildren attended Oakley Elementary School and he actively volunteered there and was honored when they presented him “The Mighty Oak” award.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia Smith Penley; daughter, Donna Hildebran and her husband Steve, grandchildren Kendale Hildebran and Kylee Hildebran; his cousin and best friend whom Donald considered a brother, Paul Capps and numerous nieces and nephews, including a special nephew, Travis Penley, who was more like a son and affectionately called “Buber”.

A memorial service will be 4:00 p.m. Thursday at Elkwood United Methodist Church, 15 Elk Mountain Road, Woodfin, with Pastor Keith Dockins officiating.

The family will greet friends one hour prior to the service at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to “The Don Penley Fund, A Heart that Continues to Give” at Oakley Elementary School.


Funeral Home Assisting The Family:

Groce Funeral Home - Patton Ave.
1401 Patton Ave.
Asheville, NC 28806


View current weather.

Memories Timeline


  1. Patricia and family,
    I grew up with Donald and his brothers in Woodfin!! We always had fun and he became a honorable gentlemen!
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and his family!!
    Joan Lunsford Smith

  2. My family enjoyed your life stories and you were always such a happy man to be around. We will miss you. ❤

  3. Pat, Donna & family..
    I am so sorry & heartbroken over Donald’s passing.. he was such a bright & shiny star! He will be missed by us all..
    Fly high my sweet “Cuzzzz” Donald.. I will miss your funny posts and also our talks.. you helped me through some difficult times & I am forever grateful for you.. I love you always..

  4. Prayers, love & hugs to Pat, Donna & family.
    I am so sorry & sad of cousin Donald’s passing. He was a fine man and was dearly loved by all who knew him.
    We will have another family reunion and it will be more beautiful than us that are still here can ever imagine.
    Love you Cuz, always.

  5. Prayers, love & hugs to Pat, Donna & family.
    I love you and will miss you Cuz. We will all be together again for a big family reunion and it will be so beautiful. T
    You will be dearly missed by our family & so many people knew & loved you.

  6. Don was such a good man. He was like a dad to all of us girls growing up. He will be missed dearly. My prayers are with you Donna and Pat and your entire family

  7. Pat,I am so sorry to hear about Donald. I enjoyed his post on FB and he always
    responded to everyone. I will always remember you both.

  8. So sorry to hear about you dad…..your mom and dad was a true blessing for Oakley School going the extra mile to help whatever the need was… and your family are in my prayers and thoughts

  9. Always will be remembered as a fun Family Member “Greasy Hands” cousin who worked with Daddy at the Filing Staton in Candler. Your laughter will never be forgotten. Prayers for Pat to fully recover..and comfort to all who knew him. Love you Cuz!!❤ and will miss you 😘

  10. I was very Sad & So Sorry to hear of the passing of this very Sweet Man I’ve known since I was 15. My Deepest Sympathy to Pat & the Family ❤️‍🩹. Good Bye Donald 💔

  11. Sorry to hear of the loss of Don Penley. Please accept our condolences and know that the family is in our thoughts and prayers.

  12. Thinking of you and your family during this time. The loss of a parent is always a life changing moment but know he will always watch over you.

  13. Donald was so sweet and always smiling when he was in a Walmart about a month ago he and me seen each other and he said I know you,and yeah I know you too I said and we as usual talked a while and he was very happy smiling and laughing.God Bless you all,I will pray hard for you all!!!

  14. Matador was a sweet man who I had the pleasure of knowing for several years when he worked as a truck driver for Ingles. I would run into him every once in awhile at Ingles or Walmart and we would stand and talk.He loved to talk and he would always have a smile. He was one of a kind and will be missed greatly. The family has my deepest sympathy and will be in my prayers.

  15. Pat…I was very sorry to see the loss of your husband….and Donna’s Dad!
    It was soooo good to catch up with you just a while ago in Dollar General of all places and we did catch up! Will still try to see you at a lunch in the future! Prayers for your loss!

  16. Pat …..I am so sorry to see that you lost Donald. To Donna in the loss of her Dad!
    It was great to run into you…almost literally…in Dollar General of all places…recently and catch up on many years! Prayers for you and your family. Hope to see you at one of those lunches one day soon!

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle