Remembered by friend and former Adairsville city manager Larry Pratt as a hard-working and compassionate Christian, Penson's time with the community began in 1973 as gas superintendent. He also served as utilities superintendent, the position he was in when he gave Pratt a job.
"When I started my career with the city, Doyal was the guy who hired me," Pratt said, adding that Penson was a "great friend."
Councilman Buddy Bagley echoed Pratt's sentiments.
"He was a hard-working person, a good mayor," he said. "He was concerned about the city."
Calling Penson's passing a "shock," Bagley said Penson "aggravated me about a three-wheel [motorcycle] I had." Bagley said Penson would say he was more of a man than Bagley because he rode a traditional two-wheeled bike.
While Penson could joke, Bagley added the former mayor also ran a tight ship. "If you got out of line, he was the type to let you know."
During Penson's time in office, Adairsville built a water treatment plant, constructed the Georgia North Industrial Park, and saw the location of Daikai and Yanmar plants within the city.
Pratt said the city has grown tremendously in the past decade, thanks in large part to Penson.
"He worked with me to spearhead growth, to bring jobs to the city," he said. "In the last 10 years, Adairsville has grown 63 percent ... Doyal was very much a part of that."
When he left office in 2007, Penson was working full time for Georgia Power with plans to continue his involvement with the city. He retired in 2010 from Evans Construction Co.
"I tried to do what I could for the city of Adairsville," Penson said in a December 2007 interview. "I feel like I tried to do that, and I'm going out as a winner."
In addition to serving as mayor, Penson gave back to the community through various organizations, including East Floyd Lodge #728 F&AM, York Rite, Yaarab Temple, Rome Shrine Club, Adairsville Lions Club, Berry Alumni Association, North Georgia Municipal Association, Adairsville Downtown Development Authority and Bartow County Housing Authority.
"He was an outstanding fella," Bagley said. "I appreciate his dedication to this city,"
Longtime friend Pratt certainly agreed.
"Doyle was just a community, civic-minded individual," he said. "He will surely be missed by me. He was my mentor, and above all, he was my best friend."
Penson is survived by his wife of 57 years, Betty; two daughters; and six grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, where Penson was a deacon. The family will receive friends form 6 to 8 p.m. today at Good Shepherd Funeral Home, which has charge of the arrangements.