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Remembering Howard Penn

Penn, a longtime pillar of the footwear community, died on March 17.

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Howard Penn had a 60-year career in the apparel industry, but the co-owner of Puritan Cape Cod was best-known in professional circles for his passion for footwear, according to friends and colleagues. Penn died on March 17 after a long illness. He was 80.

"[Penn] was 100 percent a shoe guy, even when faced with his very tough medical ordeals," said Peggy Kim Meill, past president of Two Ten Footwear Foundation. "He was also a wonderful, committed friend and volunteer for Two Ten for many decades."

Penn studied at New York University and served in the U.S. Army before joining his family's business, based in Hyannis, Mass. In addition to heading up the company and volunteering at Two Ten, his footwear endeavors included serving as chairman of the National Shoe Retailers Association from 1991 to 1992.

"Howard was one of the most respected people in the footwear industry, let alone in the NSRA," said the association's president, Chuck Schuyler. "He certainly helped NSRA ascend to where it is today, and he was a mentor to his peers."

Despite his busy professional life, Penn also found time to be active in his community. He served as director of his local Big Brothers Big Sisters association, the March of Dimes, Hyannis Civic Association and more.