In Memoriam: Professor Emeritus H. Olaf Pfannkuch, 1932-2020
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our dear friend and colleague, Prof. Hans Olaf
From the Star Tribune, composed by his loving family.
On November 19th, 5 days short of his 88th birthday, our amazing father passed away before he could host another celebration. Birthdays weren't about him, but an excuse to be with friends and family and to share his love of good food and good conversation while always making sure wine glasses were never empty. Born in Berlin in 1932, he grew up in a place and time that clearly shaped his world-view, a deep understanding of what matters in life and what it means to be a good and decent human. He loved life - the arts, humor, science, deep and creative thinking and travel but above all, connecting with people. Had he not walked into the Sorbonne office to collect his scholarship fund while earning his doctorate, he would never have met Georgette, who married him despite his difficult last name. With two young kids in tow and one on the way, they sailed to the US in 1965. As a professor at the U of M for 42 years, he was a distinguished expert in his field of hydrogeology and respected worldwide. He was one of those rare mentors who taught kindness and generosity in equal parts to intellectual pursuits, a legacy that cascades forward as those students in turn teach and lead others by example. Survived by his daughters Karin (Steve) Vanzyl, Barbara (Dan Brown) Pfannkuch & son Johannes (JoBeth) Pfannkuch; grandchildren Isabelle, Josephine, Ingrid and Max, his sister in Germany, Karin "Littla" (Gunter) Nölker and special friend, Beate Cochclovius. A celebration honoring this special man is destined for this summer . We promise to make sure your glass stays full.
In lieu of flowers, donate to the Hans-Olaf Pfannkuch Scholarship fund which allows hydrogeology students to continue studies at the hydrogeology field camp at mgwa.org/mgwa-foundation (Award Name: Pfannkuch/Alexander Hydrogeology Field Camp Fund)