Jon Thomas Pogatchnik passed away unexpectedly at his Waconia home on Monday, Dec. 4. He was 62.
The Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Monday, Dec. 18, at 5 p.m. at St. Victoria Catholic Church, 8228 Victoria Drive, Victoria, with Father Bob White officiating. Visitation will be from 2 p.m. until the time of the Mass, all at the church.
Jon was born in Le Sueur, Minnesota, and grew up in Burnsville, graduating from high school in 1979 and attending Winona State University to attain his teaching degree in 1987. He met his wife Marci while taking a night class at Normandale Community College, the magic beginning in “abnormal psychology.” They married in 1990, built a house in Waconia and went on to have three children: Meryl, Anna and Jack.
Jon began his teaching career in St. Louis Park as a special education teacher in the late 1980s. He moved on to the fast-growing western suburb of Eden Prairie and was one of the early EBD teachers at Central Middle School. At CMS, Jon was integral in creating and coaching both the cross-country program and track and field. He later taught seventh grade geography before transferring to the high school in 2006. There, he taught United States history, including many years as the AP United States history lead. Jon served as department chair, advised the EPHS Trap Shooting Club and coached the Nordic Ski team.
He retired in June 2020, eager to begin his next chapter. He was named EP Schools 2015 Teacher of the Year, selected as National Merit Honor Teacher by numerous students, was named to the EPHS Hall of Fame Influential Educators and chosen by the class of 2018 to be their commencement speaker. He was an inspirational coach, admired colleague and beloved teacher.
Besides teaching, Jon’s favorite thing in life was his family, his wife Marci, daughters Meryl and Anna and son Jack. Everything he did was for them. From cooking dinner every night to flying halfway across the world to visiting his youngest daughter Anna in Korea, he always showed up. He also loved traveling with his wife. They made it to many countries and all 50 states with their kids. The time he spent at home or traveling with them was when he was happiest.
While growing up in Burnsville, Jon spent much of his childhood roaming the Minnesota River bottoms, where he developed a lifelong passion, interest, and commitment to conservation and the great open spaces of Minnesota and the United States. He frequented the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, any flowing water in western Wisconsin, and made frequent trips to camp, hunt and fish in the American West. Jon served as a trusted guide to friends who requested and needed his outdoors savvy and expertise, but he also flourished in the solitary time nature brought him.
Jon was also active in the outdoors community, which included Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Trout Unlimited, and Pheasants Forever, where he led efforts with property owners for habitat restoration. You could also find Jon skiing the Birkebeiner, hitting the slopes of Colorado, or fly fishing on a riding river. He was equally passionate as a learner, sharing anecdotes from writers ranging from Joan Didion, Wallace Stegner, or Eric Foner.
In addition to his outdoor adventures, he was an avid carpenter, handyman, gardener, mechanic, explorer, reader, flower delivery driver and cook. Most importantly, and above all, Jon was a loving husband, father, brother and son who will be missed immeasurably.
Jon was preceded in death by his son, Jack; his father, John “Jack” Pogatchnik; his brother, David Pogatchnik; and his beloved dogs, Frank, Ruby, Stella, Bo, Sage, and Spike.
Jon is survived by his loving family: wife, Marci; daughters, Meryl Pogatchnik and her boyfriend Eamonn Briem of Minneapolis, and Anna Pogatchnik and her boyfriend James McGowan of Seoul, South Korea; mother, Yvonne Pogatchnik of Rosemount; sisters, Renee (Lou) Jirik of Lonsdale and Lisa (Bryan) Stitt of Apple Valley; brother, Jamie (Lece) Pogatchnik of Eagan; mother-in-law, Marcia Scott of St. Louis Park; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Tom and June Scott of Scottsdale, Arizona; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Casey and Jeff Jackson of Phoenix, Arizona, Katie and T.J. Werner of Memphis, Tennessee, Tommy Scott of Scottsdale, Arizona, and Kathleen and John Fern of Dallas, Texas; nieces and nephews, Jessica, David, Michael, Andrew, Lauren, Ella, Max, Cooper, MacKenzie, Regan, Reed, Nolan, Justin, and Megan; loving dog, Rainey; other relatives and many friends.
In lieu of flowers memorials preferred.
Johnson Funeral Home in Waconia handled arrangements.
We offer several ways for our readers to provide feedback. Your comments are welcome on our social media posts (Facebook, X, Instagram, Threads, and LinkedIn). We also encourage Letters to the Editor; submission guidelines can be found on our Contact Us page. If you believe this story has an error or you would like to get in touch with the author, please connect with us.