Joesph James Pankus '79 died on April 10, 2018. He is survived by his wife Patricia Ulrich Pankus, the love of his life.
He was born on August 23, 1938, in Chicago, IL, son to Joseph and Nell, brother to Victor. He was raised at Little Flower Parish and became a true "south sider" at heart. He attended St. Rita high school, was a member of the Twin Lakes water ski team, and went on to earn a college degree and play basketball for Knox College in Galesburg, IL.
They were division champions for three years in a row, and he was later inducted into the Knox College Hall of Fame. Joe was also a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity.
Joe married Patricia Ulrich in Park Ridge, IL, on August 13, 1960, and they had four children together Jennifer (Curt) Bailey, Mark, Jill, and Sharon (Jim) Stoik. His three grandchildren and one grandchild's wife were the light of his life: Benjamin (and Regina) and Daniel Bailey, and Alec Kasner.
They had 57 wonderful years of marriage together raising their family in Park Ridge, IL, and then enjoying the "snowbird" lifestyle in Bonita Springs, FL, and Lake Geneva, WI. Lake Geneva was a place where the entire family bonded together.
Joe and Patricia were avid golf and tennis enthusiasts; Joe was a "natural" at any sport he played, and Patricia kept his social calendar full.
Joe began his career in Sales and Marketing starting at RH Donnelly , then moved on to Playboy Enterprises and Esquire Magazine. He eventually started his own business named Holiday Publishing Company where he designed humorous greeting cards and Winnie-The-Pooh products for Sears. In mid-life, Joe achieved his greatest success as president of Wurlitzer Jukebox Company (1990-2005) where he was involved in the creation of the first CD jukebox and also developed the white Elvis Presley jukebox, of which he was very proud.
Joe's favorite saying regarding retirement was "You want to wear out, not rust out," and he continued to work in consulting for Barden Entertainment in Detroit, MI for three years.
In his mid-seventies, Joe created a board of directors for TEC (The Executive Committee) where he helped CEOs advise other CEOs.
Some of Joe's other accomplishments include designing two 18- hole golf courses, creating a US Wurlitzer postage stamp, and developing algorithms for investing in the stock market while giving lectures/presentations. Joe and Patricia have also been members of the Geneva National Golf Club for many years.
Around town, Joe was known as the "Music Man," as he ran music trivia nights, DJ'ed, and created original CDs for friends and family.
Joe had a winning smile, would give you the shirt off his back, gave great bear hugs, and was always there for anyone in need. His gregarious nature and infectious sense of humor made him a unique "one of a kind" quality man.
Services for Joseph will be held on Monday April 16th, 2018 at 11:00am at St. Benedicts Catholic Church in Fontana, Wisconsin.
In lieu of other expressions of sympathy the family has ask that you make a donation in Joseph's name to the MS Society. A link has been provided below.
To post an online condolence please click the Guest Book tab on the left side of your screen.
The Derrick Funeral Home is more then honored to be assisting Joseph's family during there time of need.
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
1120 James Drive, Suite A, Hartland WI 53029