In Memoriam

Recent Obituaries
In Memoriam Archive

John Pokorny ’71

Born in Schuyler, Nebraska, Jack earned a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Nebraska, and later earned a teaching certificate at Humboldt State College in Arcata, California. He got a master of science in liberal studies at Reed, and taught in Merced and Coverdale, California, Corvallis, Oregon, and at the Nebraska Penitentiary in Lincoln. He was also a writer for station NETV in Lincoln, and later worked for the family business, Pokorny Oil in Schuler.

In midlife, Jack started making willow baskets and became a fulltime artist. He loved the Pawnee Indian heritage around the Schuyler area and collected the materials for his baskets— river willow, wild plum, dogwood, and various grasses—from the Platte River valley. For more than 30 years he sold his baskets all over the country and enjoyed meeting and forming relationships with people who purchased them.

An Eagle Scout and nature lover, he knew the names of every tree, shrub, flower, bird, or animal. Storms excited him and he would stand in the front yard during tornado warnings and severe thunderstorms. His heroes were Gary Snyder ’51, Martin Luther King, Peter Matthiessen, and Allen Ginsberg. He was a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee advocating nonviolence, and of Nebraskans for Peace. He is survived by his two daughters, Frances Pokorny and Holly Pokorny Johnson; his siblings, Jeff Pokorny, Judy Pokorny Hoppe, and Jay Pokorny; and his ex-wife, Barbara Dudek Pokorny.

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2017

comments powered by Disqus