Geraldine "Gerry" Pankonin - November 01, 2012
Geraldine “Gerry” Pankonin was born on March 19, 1921 north of Madrid, Neb. She was the second of five children born to Floyd and Elsie Sparks Hendricks. Her older brother Cecil Wayne was killed in an accident two years prior to her birth.
Gerry grew up southwest of Grant, Neb. where she attended country school. Gerry attended high school in Grant where she worked for her room and board and graduated from Perkins County High School in 1939. During high school she worked for Sullivan’s Department Store and after graduation she worked at the A.S.C.S. office in Imperial, Neb.
Gerry was married to Elmer Pankonin on Nov. 1, 1941 at the Forest Lawn little church of the flowers in Los Angeles. They lived in Los Angeles until 1943 when they returned to the Grant area where she lived with her folks and helped her dad with the farm while Elmer served with the United States Navy during World War II.
After Elmer’s discharge, they moved to their farm home northeast of Grant and lived there until 1968 when they moved into Grant. Gerry worked many years for Sullivan’s and later Aten’s Department Store. She lived a very active life.
Gerry and Elmer were preparing to go out on Thursday night, Nov. 1 to celebrate their 71st wedding anniversary when she suffered an apparent heart attack at home. She was taken to the emergency room at the Perkins County Community Hospital where she died. She had reached the age of 91.
Gerry was very active with her family, her church, her community and her country. She was active in the Grant Zion Lutheran Church where she taught confirmation classes and taught the pre-school Sunday School class for over 30 years. She also made many banners that hung in the church.
While her children were growing up she helped with 4-H. She was a longtime member of Sawyer home extension club, the American Legion Auxiliary and V.F.W. Auxiliary. She served on the Grant Planning Commission and Cemetery Board for many years.
Gerry was a patriot. Gerry and Elmer were fortunate to be part of the Veterans Honor Flight to Washington D.C. for World War II veterans in 2008. They attended all of the re-unions since then and Gerry was an encourager for others to make the trip. She was the driving force behind the avenue of flags at the Grant Cemetery.
Gerry didn’t mind making fun of herself and did different skits as the “bag lady” and took part as an actress in her later years in the Perkins County School Foundation’s dinner theater. She loved her family and the door of her home was always open. She often made the statement, “I just enjoy life!”
In addition to her parents, Gerry was preceded in death by two brothers, Cecil and Hoyt Hendricks and one sister, Beulah Fitzgerald; her daughter, Linda Jo Pankonin, who died ia a vehicle accident in 1978.
She is survived by her husband of 71 years, Elmer; two sons, Larry and wife Diana Pankonin and Leon Pankonin and Lisa Jones all of the Grant area; 15 grandchildren; one sister, Margery Albright; many other relatives and friends.
Funeral services were heldMonday, Nov. 5, at the Grant Zion Lutheran Church with Pastor Ron Krause officiating.
Burial was in the Grant Fairview Cemetery.
A memorial has been established to the American Legion Auxiliary or the Sunday School department at Zion.
Bullock-Long Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.