Elmer Reinhart Pankonin - December 12, 2013
Elmer Reinhart Pankonin was born on the family farm northeast of Grant, Neb. on Feb. 13, 1917. He was the seventh of eight children born to Otto and Dora Geisert Pankonin. Elmer was baptized and confirmed at the Trinity Lutheran Church as a young boy.
He grew up on the farm and attended country school. He attended Perkins County High School in Grant for two years before his father kept him home to help on the farm.
One of his proudest treasures was his honorary diploma presented to him by the Nebraska State Board of Education in 1999 in conjunction with veterans that had served in World War II.
Elmer moved to California in 1941 and worked at the Bethleham shipyards.
Elmer was married to Geraldine Hendricks in Los Angeles on Nov. 1, 1941. This union was blessed with three children, Larry, Leon, and Linda. He was drafted into the U.S. Navy in 1944 and served with the Sea Bee’s in Guam, the Philippines, and Hawaii. After his discharge in 1946 he returned to Perkins County.
Elmer and Gerry lived on a farm northeast of Grant until 1968 when they moved into town. Gerry died unexpectedly in 2012 on their 71st anniversary and Elmer continued to maintain his home until last week when he was moved to the Perkins County Community Hospital where he died on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013. He had reached the age of 96.
Elmer was civic and family minded. He was a past 4-H leader for his kids, served on the fair board, school board, and the veterans service board. He was part of the original group of men that helped build the first Walking 7 irrigation system and worked for Walking 7 for several years.
Family was his first priority. He enjoyed working with his sons on the farm and spending time with the grandkids and their families. He stayed active until the last six weeks, checking out the countryside and keeping track of the boys.
He always marveled that he had started his farming career behind a team of horses and picking corn by hand then ended by driving a modern 12 row combine and a tractor with GPS that drove itself.
He was anxious to be reunited in heaven with Gerry and Linda.
In addition to his parents and wife, Elmer was preceded in death by his daughter, Linda; three brothers, Arnold, Ben, and Vic; four sisters, Alice Holscher, Gert Willcut, Bernice Mosel, and Esther Kurkowski.
Elmer is survived by two sons, Larry (Diana) and Leon (Lisa Jones), all of rural Grant; many grandchildren and great-grandchildren and two sisters-in-law from the Hendricks’ side, Turzah Michael and Margie Albright; many other relatives and friends.
Funeral service were held Dec. 9, 2013 at the Grant Zion Lutheran Church with Pastor Ron Krause officiating.
Burial was in the Grant Fairview Cemetery with a flag presentation by the Perkins County veterans.
Bullock-Long Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.