Georgia Clare Pokorney

POKORNEY, GEORGIA CLARE

Georgia C. Pokorney, age 79 of Viborg, SD passed away unexpectedly Wednesday, November 25, 2020 at the Pioneer Memorial Hospital and Health Services, Viborg, SD.  Private family Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m., Friday, December 4, 2020 at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, Centerville, SD with the Rev. Fr. David Roehrich as Celebrant.  Burial will follow in the Sacred Heart Cemetery, Yankton, SD at approximately 12:15 p.m.  Due to COVID-19 concerns, live streaming of Georgia’s services can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/opsahlkostel/live.  Online condolences may be sent at:  www.opsahl-kostelfuneralhome.com.  Arrangements are under the direction of Opsahl-Kostel Funeral Home and Crematory in Yankton.

Georgia Pokorney of Viborg, SD passed away unexpectedly on November 25, 2020. She was born November 21, 1941 in Blair, NE to Harvey and Clara Wilson. After high school, Georgia struggled with which career she should pursue until her father encouraged her to attend nursing school. Eventually Georgia found herself at Mount Marty College in Yankton, SD where she flourished.

 It was at this time that she met her soulmate, Duane Pokorney. They were married in August 1963 and were blessed with their first daughter the next year.  Georgia was the original working mom, raising three daughters and working full-time as an amazing, registered nurse at Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton, eventually working up to the position of Director of Nursing. It was during this time that she was also navigating her marriage and family through Duane’s alcoholism. Because of her strength and resolve, our family survived, and her husband began his life of sobriety until he passed on June 26, 2017. 

 After a brief stint working in the state of Oregon, Georgia landed her dream job as CEO of Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Viborg, SD. During her time at Pioneer Memorial, Georgia was a champion of new services including hospice, cardiac rehab, therapies and a physician outreach program. She was instrumental in expanding the hospital system by adding an assisted living facility, memory care unit, satellite clinics as well as updating the hospital and emergency room. In her 50 years of serving as a nurse and administrator, she was an advocate for her patients and geriatric healthcare and was well respected in her position. 

 As her dementia advanced, it was painful to see the cruelty of the disease as it robbed her of her essence – her love of family and banter, her joy of cooking, her full-hearted laughter and her tenacity to accomplish any task. After her beloved Duane passed away in 2017, her daughters along with an amazingly supportive community did what they could to keep her in her home for as long as possible. As her condition deteriorated, she was placed in memory care on Wednesday, Nov. 25th and passed away that evening. 

 Georgia was always in charge and wanted to stay in charge of her life. She expected the best from everyone, her husband, her children, her co-workers and she usually got what she wanted. Georgia had a way of pulling the best out of people and never settled for anything less. Her children were blessed to spend time with her the last two weeks of her life, to laugh with her and hold her hand, curl her hair, put on her makeup and make her feel beautiful again. She is now with her beloved Duane, where she always wanted to be since that day in June 2017. 

Georgia is survived by her three daughters, Jacque (Alan Carlson) of St. Paul, MN, Mary (Brett Donelan) of Monona, WI, and Jen (Edward Panian) of Norwalk, CT; her grandchildren, Quinn, Bridger, Solei, Shae, Aidan, Eddie and Rya; and sister, Sandra Anderson

Georgia was preceded in death by her husband, Duane of 53 years; her sister, Patricia (Pat) Paulsen; and her parents, Harvey and Clara Wilson. 

A celebration of her life will be held at a later date this summer in Viborg when it is safe to gather her family, friends and co-workers.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, 322 Eighth Avenue, Seventh Floor, New York, NY, 10001, Association, or Pioneer Memorial Hospital, 315 North Washington Street, Viborg, 57070 in honor of Georgia Pokorney. 

"And for Georgia's sake, please wear a mask."