Mary Jo Panko
1946 - 2021
Ritchay Funeral Home
1950 12TH ST SOUTH
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Mary Jo Panko

Wisconsin Rapids - Mary Jo Panko, age 74, of Wisconsin Rapids, died Thursday, July 8, 2021 at Wisconsin Rapids Health Services with her family by her side.

Funeral Services will be held 11:00 AM on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Wisconsin Rapids. Rev. Jerome Patric will officiate, burial will take place at a later date in Restlawn Memorial Park. The family will greet relatives and friends at Church on Wednesday from 10:00 - 11:00 AM.

Mary Jo Ann (Kuklinski) Panko was one of two identical twins born on October 3, 1946 in Oshkosh, WI, to Joe "The Pro" Kuklinski and Katherine (Groesbeck) Kuklinski. Her twin Kathy Ann, passed away two weeks after.

Mary Jo was three years old when they moved from Oshkosh to Wisconsin Rapids where her dad became the Golf Pro at Bulls Eye Country Club. Mary Jo grew up going to golf tournaments and playing junior golf. She was very excited to have made a "hole-in-one" playing with all the boys and loved when her parents hosted parties.

A 1964 high honors graduate of Lincoln High School, Mary Jo was a member of National Honor Society, Student Government, Choir, Pep Club and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA).

Mary Jo married Ronald Panko on June 18, 1966. They recently celebrated their 55th anniversary.

She started her executive secretarial career at Nepco Papers and worked as the first Secretary to the Mill Manager, wearing a custom hard hat with her name painted on it. She left employment in 1970 to become a mother. After working as a stay-at-home mom for more than a decade, Mary Jo went back to school at Mid-State Technical College to receive office management training. She worked at Fenander Chiropractic and then The Berry Company where she remained until her retirement.

Mary Jo was an excellent seamstress and created numerous matching outfits for her children, as well as Halloween costumes, semi-formal and formal dresses, and along with another mother, recital tutus for her daughter Betsy's entire dance class. She enjoyed knitting, quilting, and many other crafts before her extended illness.

Survivors include husband Ronald, three children, Charles, Wisconsin Rapids, Molly (Mitchell) Warren, Madison, and Betsy (Joey) Leonard, Madison. Four grandchildren, Tira (Chase) Prater, Christiana, TN, Wyatt (fiancée Sienna Preuss) Feaster, LaCrosse, Franklin Warren, Madison and Augusta Leonard, Madison as well as a special god daughter and many nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by her parents and twin, her mother-in-law, Valeria Panko and father-in-law, Anton Panko.

The family is deeply grateful for the comfort care at Riverview Hospital and Heartland Hospice care at Wisconsin Rapids Health Services.

Published by Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune from Jul. 9 to Jul. 12, 2021.
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10:00a.m. - 11:00a.m.
St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Funeral service
St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Funeral services provided by:
Ritchay Funeral Home
Sponsored by Ritchay Funeral Home.
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Dear Family of Mary Jo, We were neighbor's of Kuklinski's and Mary Jo was a good friend of my sister, Sue Exner LaVaque, who passed away unexpectedly in 1986. Our mother, Alice Exner and Katherine were also good friends. I can see them all together again reunited in heaven. My sincere sympathy to everyone, Barb Gile
Barbara Exner Gile
July 12, 2021
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