Penny-Sue Esbensen

Penny-Sue Esbensen, of Fallbrook, passed away on October 20, 2017 after a valiant and courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. She was born to Gloria and Warren Hoppmeyer on May 5, 1952 in New Orleans, La.

Growing up with four brothers, she was active in sports and school. She was a talented softball player who went to state finals with her team. She also ran track and was active in student government, was a cheerleader, was in the homecoming court, as well as a member of the XLO Sorority in high school.

She attended the University of New Orleans as well as Louisiana State University and was a lifelong LSU Tiger fan. She was also a New Orleans Saints fan, as well as a San Diego Padres fan. In 1981, she moved to California to marry her husband of 36 years, Mark Esbensen.

Penny was a pillar of every community she lived in, but especially her longtime home of Fallbrook, Calif. She was elected to and served on the Fallbrook Elementary School Board for eight years; she led the Fallbrook High School Water Polo Boosters club for over 15 years; she participated in National Charity League; and hosted several foreign exchange students, becoming a second mom to Orkun Aksaray, who lived with the Esbensen’s his senior year at Fallbrook High School.

Penny and Orkun stayed in touch over the years and she loved him very much. Penny served in countless other ways throughout her community.

Penny was a loving, caring, and supportive wife to her husband Mark. She was a mother to four very active children and “Nonnie” to her eight grandchildren. She spent most of her adult life watching and cheering her children in water polo games, baseball games, soccer matches, equestrian shows, and swim meets. Most of the water polo referees and coaches in San Diego County knew her by name. Her children would say that they cannot remember a single game, show, or meet that their mother didn’t attend.

In 2006 Penny became a grandmother, or as her grandchildren called her, “Nonnie”. By the time she passed, she had eight grandchildren. She was as active a grandmother as she was a mother. Most of her grandchildren’s friends called her Nonnie and thought of her as one of their own grandparents.

Penny was preceded in death by her parents, Warren and Gloria Hoppmeyer, of New Orleans, La. She is survived by her beloved husband, Mark Esbensen; her son, Scott Forest and wife Julie Forest, of Temecula; her daughter Erin Merry and husband Matthew Merry, of Fallbrook; her daughter Dana Siverthorne and husband William Silverthorne, of Fallbrook, and daughter Allison Esbensen, of Fallbrook; her grandchildren, Matthew Jr., Scott Jr., Brady, Hayden, Lexi, Penelope, Peyton and Bodie; her brothers Warren Hoppmeyer, of Connecticut; Scott Hoppmeyer, of New Orleans; Todd Hoppmeyer, of Atlanta, and Ward Hoppmeyer, of New Orleans; and countless other family and friends.

She will be dearly missed by all who knew her. She was a light in the lives of so many and one of those people who made everyone feel like family. She will be her family’s guardian angel and as one of her grandchildren said, “Now Nonnie will be able to watch all of our games at the same time” …and you can bet she will be.

A memorial service and Celebration of Life will be held Sunday, Nov. 5 from 2 to 5 p.m. at REINS, 4461 S. Mission Rd., Fallbrook, CA.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to pancreatic cancer research at

9 Responses to "Penny-Sue Esbensen"

  1. Erica Thomas   November 2, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    What a great snap shot of an amazing person. We love you Nonnie!!

  2. Scott Hoppmeyer   November 2, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    Penny I will miss you every day more than words can say, you were the light of my life. You were the best big sister ever I could ever ask for, who’s laugh was contagious and one of a kind. You were my champion when I was broken and down, you made me laugh and you made me cry, so I will love and miss till the day I die!!! Good Nite Sis!

  3. Jack and Linda Biven   November 3, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    Penny’s passing leaves a hole in our hearts that will always be there. We were blessed to have had Penny as a part of our lives. And through her came the blessing of the Esbensens. We love you all very much and have you in our prayers. The wonderful memories of her will sustain us.

  4. Georgia Gipner   November 4, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    I was Penny’s neighbor, and spent years in NCL getting to know her. She was an amazing mother, just look at the wonderful children she raised. She was a role model wife and mother for many of us. She will be missed. Blessings go out to her children and husband. Thinking of u all!

  5. Nancy Assaf   November 6, 2017 at 6:11 am

    The thing I remember most about Penny Sue when we were young teenagers at Riverdale was her never-ending smile and happy nature. She was also one of the most popular “Favorites” in the school. When I met her children later on, they each seemed to have that lightness and in addition, the beautiful blonde thing going on! I loved seeing her on Facebook and enjoyed her conservative rants about the woes of the World. I’ll really miss that. I consider her life a blessing to all who knew her.

  6. Rita DeGruy Lopinto.   November 15, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    Such a sweet girl. We played sports together in high school. Sounds like she raised a beautiful family. Hope her loving memories will see you all through this sad time. Sincere condolences.

  7. Lisa Tompkins   November 15, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    I am so sorry to learn of Penny Sue’s passing. The world has lost a good one! Penny Sue was always kind to everyone. She was so quick to laugh and was hilariously funny herself. My favorite memory of her is the time she came to Riverdale wearing 2 different shoes- 1fkat and the other with a slight heel. At lunchtime Janis Schreiber pointed it out, and Penny Sue looked down and said, ” I wondered why I was limping.” She never lived that down. I am so glad to have known her and know she will be missed greatly.

  8. G. Susan McMurry Lang   November 16, 2017 at 7:08 am

    I was an XLO sister of Penny Sue in high school at Riverdale and will always remember her contagious laugh, smile and sunshine that she always brought with her everywhere. She will be missed by so many who’s life she touched. And I am so fortunate to have known such a vibrant person. My thoughts and prayers to all her family, and friends.

  9. Bev Smith   November 17, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    Dearest Penny, you will be missed by so many. May God’s light continue to shine through those you touched, your family should know how much you were loved in high school by your sisters in XLO. A ready smile, a natural leader, a voice of reason in todays crazy world. I will miss your fabulous posts on Facebook, you never ceased to get me fired up over our mutual conservative political opinions. Love you sister. Bev Smith ’68 Riverdale.


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