MADISON—Hank liked to take “the scenic route.” At least that’s what he called it whenever his natural instinct for directions didn’t quite get us to our destination, which was often. There’s a good chance some of those “wrong” turns were on purpose though, as dad really just loved a car trip. Going down a road he’d never been on probably just seemed like the natural thing to do.
We lost dad, for the second time, on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, two days shy of his 89th birthday. Dementia is a nightmare of a disease, but we comfort ourselves with the thought that maybe dad was able to experience it as a longer version of one of his rambling car rides. We hope it was a sunny day in his mind as he leisurely turned down one new road and then another. Sometimes when visiting him we would catch a flash of his old, familiar grin. Maybe those were the times when the road looked like somewhere he’d been before.
Henry Pahmeier was born on Jan. 8, 1930, to Henry and Louise (Burns) Pahmeier. The middle child, he is survived by his sisters, Jeanette (John) Montalto and Dorothy (Don) Wersal. When Henry married Rita Sveum on Oct. 15, 1955, they crossed Madison’s equally controversial lines between Lutheran/Catholic and Eastsider/Westsider. Daughter Susan came first, later marrying Timothy Thorland. Together they gave Hank and Rita a beloved grandson, Andrew. Mike came second and someday he will marry Masarah Van Eyck. Cinder, the family dog, was basically the third child and dad fixed her a nightly dinner plate. Hank and Rita lived on Sommers Ave. for more than 40 years, where they enjoyed their family of neighbors and watched the slow transformation of Atwood Ave. from their backyard patio. They celebrated 60 years together before Rita’s death in 2016.
Hank worked for the city of Madison for 36 years and, if judged by his accumulated sick time, apparently loved going to work. Whether it was keeping the Westside’s park grass neatly trimmed or the Franklin Field ice rink smooth as glass, he took great pride in a job that many people never even notice. He boasted that the hockey players said he had the best ice in town. Always active, Hank took part in most any sport, from tennis to horseshoes. He bowled a 700 series and slow-pitched a perfect 12-foot arc in softball, and every day after work he did half of Mike’s paper route. In later years, he stuck mostly to euchre but occasionally broke out his 1955 Black Beauty bowling ball to show the younger guys how it was done. In addition to driving up to Castle Rock Lake to fish with Uncle Don, the car trips he took with Sue’s family all around the country were a highlight of his retirement years.
The family would like to say a special thank you to everyone at Oak Park Place. Dad and mom both spent their last years there and the care and kindness shown to our parents was more than we could have hoped for. These folks do a job that many could not and one that needs to be recognized and appreciated more than it is. We are also grateful to Heartland Hospice who took wonderful care of both dad and mom in their final days.
Funeral services will be held at ALL FAITHS FUNERAL CHAPEL, 4058 Lien Road, Madison, at 2 p.m., on Monday Jan. 14, 2019. Visitation will be at the funeral home on Monday from 12 noon until the time of service. Private burial will be held in Sunset Memory Gardens, Madison.
No flowers please. If you wish, a donation could be made to the Dane County Humane Society.