Sandra Elisabeth Van Fossen (Penny) was born July 1, 1944 in Charlottesville, Virginia to Hansel Young and Ruth Van Fossen, the sister to older brother Danny. She passed peacefully from this earth the afternoon of Monday, June 29, 2020 with her loving husband and life partner Steve Teshara by her side.

Danny had trouble pronouncing Sandra so she became Penny. The family moved west to Santa Barbara before Penny entered high school. Early on, and throughout her life, Penny exhibited intelligence, a compassion for others, great organizational skills, a flair for creativity, and, like her father, an aptitude for figuring out and fixing things.

In 1977, Penny moved to South Lake Tahoe with her young daughter Kelley. They enjoyed the change from the coast to the mountains. Penny often said she was sold on Tahoe when she saw deer on the runway as the plane she arrived in touched down at Lake Tahoe Airport. Together, Penny and Kelley experienced the full range of activities, challenges, and joys of living at the lake. Penny especially loved bike riding and long walks.


Penny and Steve met while working at KTHO AM radio in the summer of 1982, Penny as the capable business manager and Steve as the dedicated news director. They quickly bonded as friends and in their commitment to community service. Later, they collaborated for a second time at the Lake Tahoe Gaming Alliance. They eventually each established their own businesses, Penny as Teshara Management Services and Steve with Sustainable Community Advocates.

Fortune played another hand when they resolved to get married, which they did on Aug. 29, 1999, at the former Christiania Inn in South Lake Tahoe. Their commitment to each other was strong. They each sold their individual homes and together purchased a home in Round Hill, Zephyr Cove.

They both remained involved in community-based broadcasting. In 2018, in recognition of their many years of service to the profession, they were inducted together into the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame, one of the few couples to achieve that honor.

Penny and Steve shared a total of 38 years as the best of friends and nearly 21 years as partners in marriage. Penny passed two days shy of her birthday and two months before what would have been their 21st wedding anniversary.

In addition to Steve, Penny is survived by her daughter Kelley Hopper and husband Rick Hopper of Reno. Her interment is at Happy Homestead Cemetery in South Lake Tahoe near the final resting place of her mother Ruth. She is remembered fondly by many throughout the Tahoe region for her smile, her caring and unique contributions, and for the love story of her partnership with Steve in service to the community.

Anyone wishing to make contributions in Penny’s memory can do so with a donation to the Lake Tahoe Community College Foundation, helping to support the educational advancement of many working hard to become the leaders of today and the future.

~ Steve Teshara


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