By Mike Cook and Elva K. Austria, Las Cruces Bulletin
A beloved Las Cruces icon, Penny Duncklee, encountered two dogs in her yard last week, March 16, which attacked and mauled her before a neighbor was able to stop them, probably saving her life. Transported to University Medical Center in El Paso, she went into surgery for her injuries. She lost her right arm up to the elbow and has had repair work done for the left.
According to a GoFundMe (gofund.me/b53509f8) page set up in her name, when first asked if she knew what happened, Duncklee said, “I was attacked by dogs. I fought back and screamed and screamed. I’m one tough cookie.”
Her family says the page is set up primarily to share information about how Duncklee is doing, and any funds generated will be used for charities/causes that are important to her
Born Easter Sunday 1937 in Hingham, Massachusetts, Duncklee has done many things. She was a sailor and boatmaker, a potter, an elected coroner and a tour guide as well as an artist. Since 2001 in Las Cruces, she has been a beloved local artist, a member of the New Mexico Watercolor Society – and twice the president of its southern chapter – a member of the Las Cruces Arts Association and founding member of the Ten O’Clock Club , another local organization for artists.
Duncklee told the Bulletin in a previous interview that she started painting on a regular basis while living in Colorado in the 1980s.
“I guess I’ve been painting ever since,” she said.
Duncccklee’s son, Dave Crowell, reports daily on their GoFundMe page to let people know how she is doing. He said she is doing well and keeping her spirits up. She is “humbled” by the wealth of positive thoughts and photos folks are sharing via social media. In particular, because she loves sunsets, photos of sunsets have been flowing her way.
Duncklee sends regular sunrise, sunset and other weather-related photos to KTSM, a TV news station in El Paso, earning their 2021 Weather Watcher of the Year award. The station has shared her images on their website.
Meanwhile, her natural cheer and enthusiasm are spreading through her environment as people look forward to seeing her everyday and she was even offered a job teaching other patients how to rehab. She told them she already had a job as a weather watcher.