I am beyond heartbroken to announce the death of my momma, Maxine Marie Pankonin. She passed away peacefully on December 18th, 2023 at the age of 71, surrounded by those who loved her most. Mom had been dealing with several debilitating health issues over the past few years, including being diagnosed with cancer in July 2023.
Mom was born on May 16th, 1952 to Max Mervin Pankonin and Colleen Marie Pankonin (nee Chamberland) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, being the eldest of their 12 children. Mom learned at a very young age how to take care of others. Not only did she help her mother take care of her younger brothers and sisters, but she also helped raise and take care of several of her nieces and nephews. It’s not surprising that this became her calling as mom pursued a career in nursing after graduating from North High School in Minneapolis in 1970. Mom completed her training as a licensed practical nurse and spent the next several decades working as an acute care nurse.
Tragedy had struck the Pankonin family in 1980 which prompted the migration of most of the the family out West, including mom. Mom first settled in Portland, Oregon where she worked for several decades at Providence Portland Medical Center. In 1985, mom had been helping take care of her infant niece Miranda and very quickly realized she wanted to adopt her so she took her in with open arms and thus she became my momma. Mom never married or had any biological children.
In 1993, mom decided to buy a house at the beach and so she purchased an old beach house that was built in 1900 and relocated there part time. She spent the next several years traveling between Portland, Oregon while she continued working at Providence Portland Medical Center and the Long Beach peninsula where she came home on her days off. When Miranda was in her teens, mom decided to live at the beach full time and worked at Ocean Beach Hospital in Ilwaco, Washington until her retirement in 2013.
Mom was an avid reader and great storyteller. She loved animals and had many dogs and cats throughout her life. Her best fur buddies these past few years were Rocket and Onyx, an eccentric blue heeler and a beastly black labrador. From 2007 onward, Maxine helped Miranda raise her two kids, Angelica and Christopher, with whom she shared a very special bond as their “Nana.”
Maxine is survived by her daughter Miranda Shoemaker, grandchildren Angelica Ruelas and Christopher Espinoza, and Miranda’s other half J Guadalupe Espinoza. She is also survived by her siblings Bruce Pankonin, Curtis (Sherry) Pankonin, Dalan Pankonin, Ellen Pankonin, Sarah (James) Sobocinski, and Penny Dahl, as well as many beloved nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by her father, mother, and brothers Frederick, Christopher, Randall, and Timothy.
According to mom’s wishes, no service will be held. She has been cremated and we plan to intern her ashes in Lone Fir Cemetery in Long Beach, Washington in the future.