Russell Alan Pankonin was born on November 1st, 1945 in Springfield, MN to Kenneth and Betty (Kansanback) Pankonin. He attended country school in Germantown Township until he was in 5th grade and then attended Sanborn Public School, graduating in 1963.
After high school, he began farming. He also served his country in the National Guard, mostly as a cook during the Vietnam Era. He was married to Carol Bass in Westbrook on July 15, 1972. Russ and Carol made their home on the family farm where Russ lived his entire life until he and Carol moved into town in Lamberton in 2013.
As a young man, Russ accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior while at Bible camp and became a faithful lifetime servant of Christ. He loved the Lord and served as a Sunday School teacher and deacon over the years. He read the Bible and spent time in prayer daily. He was a member of the Storden Baptist Church.
The Lord was Russ’s first love, followed by his wife and his family. He also loved farming his land and raising cattle. He enjoyed hunting and fishing with his brothers, sons, grandsons, and nephews as well as being active in various community organizations. Through the years, Russ was involved in the Sanborn School Board, Germantown Township Board, Cottonwood County Cattlemen’s Association, Farmers Co-op Oil Board, Red Rock Sportsmen’s Club, and the Sanborn Legion.
His family is so grateful to have shared in his life, and we all will miss his patient demeanor, his meek and humble spirit, his wisdom, his diligent prayers for us, and his great teddy-bear hugs.
Russ is survived by his wife Carol Pankonin; son Jason (Darlene) Pankonin and his children Anna, Emma, Jonas, Kendra, MaKenna, and Caleb of New Ulm, MN; son Dr. Kyle (Kari) Pankonin and his children Logan and Noah of Lamberton, MN; daughter Sarah (James) Rains of Rochester, MN, and son Alex (Jenny) Pankonin and his children Victoria and Carson of Sanborn, MN. Also surviving are his sisters Laureen Raymond of Venice, FL; Janice Dow of Palm Desert, CA; Roxanne (Miles) Fisher of Westminster, CA; Judy (Mark) Williams of Brookings, OR; brothers Bill (Christie) Pankonin of Webster, MN; and Dr. Vince (Bridgit) Pankonin of Dent, MN; father-in-law John Bass of Westbrook, MN. He is preceded in death by his parents, Ken and Betty Pankonin, and his mother-in-law Valeta Bass.
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