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October 27, 2020

9/30/2020 11:11:00 AM
George Pankonin

George Pankonin, 97, of Springfield, formerly of rural Jeffers, died Sept. 26, 2020, at St. John Lutheran Home in Springfield.
A private Celebration of Life service will be held Sunday, Oct. 4, at 2 p.m., at United Methodist Church in Jeffers with Chaplain Noel Wetter officiating.
Private burial will follow at Red Rock Cemetery in rural Jeffers.
Due to COVID-19 related reasons, George's service will be private. The service will be livestreamed on the LaCanne Family Funeral Service Facebook page the day of the service. George's family invites friends and family to leave comments and/or memories at www.lacannefuneralhome.com or during the service at LaCanne Family Funeral Service Facebook page for a way to celebrate his life.
George's family will distribute memorials to several charities. Memorials can be sent to: Bruce Pankonin, 2210 Xene Lane North, Plymouth, MN 55447.
LaCanne Family Funeral Service of Windom is handling the funeral arrangements.
George Harold Pankonin was born on Nov. 22, 1922, to Emil and Katie (Rupp) Pankonin on the family farm north of Jeffers where he lived his entire life until moving to St. John Lutheran Home in Springfield at 90 years of age.
He passed away there on Saturday morning, Sept. 26, 2020, at the age of 97 years.
George was baptized at the Red Rock Jerusalem Church (later called Red Rock United Methodist Church) where he also committed his life to Christ at the age of 14. Located only a mile from his farm, the church was always an important part of his life. He taught Sunday School, served on the board of trustees and held other leadership positions.
George walked or rode his pony to Germantown Township District 35 country school located one mile across the section. He talked of the proud day when he received his eighth-grade diploma on the courthouse steps in Windom.
George enjoyed roller skating with country friends and it was at such an outing where he met Eunice Zettler of Comfrey. They were married Dec. 13, 1947, in Comfrey and celebrated 50 years of rewarding married life in 1997. Eunice died of pulmonary fibrosis on March 25, 2000. George served as her caregiver for several years.
George took over the family farm shortly after his marriage. His father, Emil, and brother, Reinhold, operated a livestock-buying business from Jeffers and George also assisted with the business. He enjoyed buying cattle at auction markets in Windom, Walnut Grove and Sleepy Eye and feeding them to market weight on his farm.
He was an active member of the Cottonwood County Beef Producers Association and was named Feeder of the Year in 1977. George served on the board of directors of the State Bank of Jeffers for 27 years.
George often talked of how thankful he was for God's many blessings, especially for excellent health that allowed him to feed cattle until he was 75 years of age and then continue to be involved in farm activities until he entered St. John Lutheran Home in Springfield at age 90.
George helped others in any way he could. He was a member of the Jeffers Lions Club, the Jeffers Senior Citizen Center and the Gideons, working to place Bibles in many hands.
He loved fishing and hunting pheasants, fox, ducks and deer and wouldn't miss a game of pinochle or 500. He also attended many estate sales and played softball and baseball in earlier years. He enjoyed his friends and community and saw no need to travel very far, often stating that the best place in the world was "Section 32 of Germantown Township."
George is survived by his three children and their families, including daughters, Eileen (Roy) Johnson of Peoria, Ariz.; Kathie (Jim) Stevens of Ranchester, Wyo., and son, Bruce (Betsy) Pankonin of Plymouth. Six granddaughters include Jeannie (Randy) Collins, Peoria, Ariz.; LeeAnn (Bud) Deeg, Bad Axe, Mich.; Laura (Kevin) Hall, St. Paul; Lindsey (Dan) Larson, Los Angeles, Calif.; Jenny Stevens, Ranchester, Wyo.; and Jessie Stevens, Dayton, Wash. Three great-grandchildren include Grant, Micah and Cannon Collins, Peoria, Ariz. George is also survived by one of his sisters, Arlene Orloske, of Windom.
George was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Eunice; his parents, Emil and Katie; one brother, Reinhold; and sisters: Elsie Nickel, Linda Leopold and Viola Menken.

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