Annette Culler-Penney, journalist, author and publicist, dies

January 21

Annette Culler-Penney, a Washington journalist and author who also did public relations and fundraising for several organizations, died Jan. 2 at Winchester Medical Center in Winchester, Va. She was 97.

The cause was complications from a cerebral hemorrhage, according to her executor and friend, Marsha Laurendine.

From the 1940s into the 1960s, Mrs. Culler-Penney covered Capitol Hill, national politics and diplomacy in Washington for Fairchild Publications and as a freelance writer. She was the author of a 1968 book, “Dirksen: The Golden Voice of the Senate,” a profile of Sen. Everett M. Dirksen (R-Ill.).

As a freelance journalist, Mrs. Culler-Penney wrote stories for various publications and syndicates, including the North American Newspaper Alliance and the Chicago Tribune. She did fundraising for politicians and charitable organizations, including the Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries and shelters for battered women.

Annette Culler was born in Cordele, Ga., and received a degree in business administration from South Georgia College in 1939.

Her career in journalism included fashion coverage for Women’s Wear Daily. She was an interior designer and started a division of interior design at American University in the 1950s. In the 1980s, she directed interior design plans for an eight-building palace complex in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for the Saudi royal family.

Mrs. Culler-Penney was a former resident of the District and Upperville, in Fauquier County, Va. Since 1999, she had lived in Boyce, Va.

She was a past president of the Republican Club of Fauquier County, a past vice president of the old Women’s National Press Club and a member of the National Press Club.

Her first marriage, to Frank M. Ward, ended in divorce. Her second husband, Robert A. Penney, whom she married in 1963, died in 1996. She had no immediate survivors.

— Bart Barnes