It is with deep sadness we say good bye to our dear friend and colleague, Henry Pokorny. Henry died at Methodist Hospital on December 16, 2010 at the age of 86.
Henry grew up in a house on 6th Avenue with his parents and siblings. It was into the basement of this house that his mom carried the toddler Henry to escape the famous tornado of 1925. While still in school, he began working at Pokorny Plumbing, the company his dad Henry Sr. founded in 1922. When WWII broke out he persuaded his dad to let him leave school to enlist at the young age of 17. After the war he returned to his father’s business and to marry his best gal Arlene Miller of Excelsior.
In WWII, Henry served in six countries and four campaigns including intense battles in Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes and the Rhinelands. Henry never talked much about his wartime experiences but we know he was awarded the American, European, African and Middle Eastern Service Medals, the Distinguished Unit Badge and a Belgian medal.
Henry served the Hopkins community in many ways, but most notably for three terms as mayor from 1969 to 1975 and as city councilman from 1961 to 1969. He also served two terms on the city charter commission. He can best be remembered as always thinking to the future while keeping the greater good of Hopkins in mind. Throughout his years, Henry fought hard to make sure Hopkins kept its small town flavor yet providing an appealing area where business could prosper.
Henry and Hopkins
Henry Pokorny was a part of Hopkins his entire life. The Hopkins Historical Society has put together a few photographs that follow Henry in Hopkins from his school days, to his army stint, to his homes, his business and his civic life. Click here to view the photos.
In the late 1970s, Henry joined the Hopkins Historical Society after visiting his friend Clint Blomquist, our founder. Clint put him to work sorting through some boxes and he was hooked. Henry served on the board for over 30 years, 22 years as treasurer.
For those fortunate enough to have worked with him, Henry was a mentor, role model, teacher, historian, but most of all, a friend. He will always be remembered as the one to whom we would go for guidance and wisdom to carry out the work of the board. There was hardly a Hopkins subject about which he could not offer a pertinent fact or memory.
It was an honor and a privilege to work with Henry. He was a strong, gentle man who was admired and loved by all who knew him. The Historical Society and Hopkins itself is a better place because of Henry.
Henry was preceded in death by his wife Arlene (Babe) and survived by sons Paul (Jill) and Larry (Nancy), granddaughters Sara, Robyn and Catherine, siblings John Roger and Marge. His funeral was held with military honors on December 29, 2010.