Herman J. Panacek Jr.
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Herman J. Panacek, Jr. of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, formerly of Warwick, Maryland, passed away on November 29, 2021 at Memorial Manchester Hospital in Connecticut after a brief hospitalization. He was travelling with his wife Patricia on their way to New Hampshire for a visit with their children and grandchildren. His family is grateful for the compassionate care he received from all his healthcare providers.
Born on January 11, 1942 in Trenton, New Jersey, Herman was the son of Herman and Anne Panacek. He graduated from Trenton Catholic High School and attended the National Agricultural College of Doylestown, PA.
Herman had a distinguished career in agricultural, specifically horticultural, which began as a young boy when he first grew pyracantha from cuttings in recycled tomato cans on his grandparent's farm in Hamilton Twp, NJ. He began his professional career at Howe Nurseries in Pennington, NJ in 1960 holding many positions including Landscape Supervisor and Plant Market Manager. He started his own business, Herman J. Panacek Jr. Inc. Landscape Nurserymen in 1973. The firm's clients included corporate office parks, corporate headquarters, special environmental projects, shopping malls, and commercial areas, major roadways, municipal recreational facilities, public housing projects, and municipal renewal projects on the East Coast. In 1980, Herman and his wife, Patricia purchased 500 acres in Quakertown, NJ and began Sycamore Lane Nursery. In 1987, they purchased a second farm in Warwick, Maryland, also named Sycamore Lane Nursery where they continued to grow shade and flowering trees on 1000 acres. The nurseries were recognized for their production of high-quality plant material, the latest growing practices, and leadership in conservation and natural resources management and were host sites for many state and local agricultural and nursery tours.
His company was a three-time recipient of The National Landscape Award sponsored by the American Association of Nurserymen and awarded at the White House by First Ladies Carter and Reagan. The award is recognized as the nation's oldest and most respected environmental and community program for making significant contributions to the quality of life in their communities through landscape beautification. Herman received several awards for his tireless commitment to land conservation including New Jersey's Outstanding Conservation Farmer of the Year (1984) and was inducted into the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association Hall of Fame for his many years of service to the industry. In 1991, he received New Jersey's State Board of Agriculture Service Award for his dedication to and promotion of the Garden State's many agribusinesses. He was also recognized for his successes in the American Nurseryman trade publication.
In addition to his professional career in the landscaping and nursery trades, Herman served many organizations including the NJ State Board of Agriculture, NJ Association of Conservation Districts (Vice President, 1986), NJ Association of Nurserymen, Hunterdon County (NJ) Board of Agriculture, Hunterdon County Planning Board (Chairman, 1986), and Hunterdon County Soil Conservation District (Supervisor 1983-1986.)
Though Herman devoted long hours to the farm and business enterprises, he made time for community activities. He was President of the Colonial Fire Company in Hamilton, NJ, and an active member of the Amwell Valley Fire Department in Ringoes. Herman was deeply involved in his Catholic faith. He served as a Lectern for 45 years in the Dioceses of Trenton, NJ, and Wilmington, DE. He has also donated his skills and plant material for the design and landscape of many parishes and contributed the same to many other non-profit organizations. Last but certainly not least, were the Christmas seasons when Herman spread holiday cheer in his role as Santa Claus.
Herman's achievements are numerous but would have been impossible without the devotion, support and hard work of his wife Patricia whose contributions to the success of the farm and business enterprises were endless. His family will always be his proudest achievement.
Herman is survived by his wife of 58 years, Patricia Schultz Panacek; his daughter Elizabeth Shannon and her loving companion Michael O'Neil of Francestown, NH; his son Kenneth and his wife, Amy of Nantucket, MA; and two granddaughters, Alexandra Shannon of Steamboat Springs, CO and Grace Shannon of Bristol, RI. He is also survived by his five siblings: James and Joan of Hamilton Twp., NJ; Carol Hilgendorff of Columbus, NJ; Thomas of Reno, NV; and John of Columbus, NJ; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
A viewing will be held from 4 - 7 PM on Wednesday, December 8th, at the Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory, 3110 Lititz Pike, Lititz, PA 17543. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 AM on Thursday, December 9th, at Historic St. Mary's Church, 119 Prince Street, Lancaster, PA 17603. Private interment will follow at St. Mary's Cemetery, 401 New Holland Avenue, Lancaster, PA 17602.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Herman's memory to Historic St. Mary's Church, 119 Prince Street, Lancaster, PA 17603 or Longwood Gardens, PO Box 501, Kennett Square, PA 19348. Please indicate "In memory of Herman Panacek." Donations may also be made online at www.longwoodgardens.org/support/honor-and-memorial-gifts