George M. Jonkel Nov 29, 2016
FOUNTAIN, Fla. – George Matthew Jonkel of Fountain, Florida, passed away Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, at Bay Medical Center, Panama City, Florida. The cause of his death was congestive heart failure. George, or Duke as he preferred to be called, was born in Chicago, Illinois, on July 8, 1927, to George M. Jonkel Sr. and Ruby (Poertner) Jonkel. The family moved to Wisconsin, where Duke, his brother Chuck and sister Theo lived with their mother and their maternal grandparents, and then with their mother and stepfather, Tom Yndogliato.
After he graduated from Neillsville High School he served his country in the Army then the Army Reserves from 1946 until 1952. Duke married Jean Dickson of Missoula in 1948 and started college at the University of Minnesota, transferring to the University of Montana in Missoula, where he received his B.S. in 1952 and his M.S. in Wildlife Technology in 1954.
He worked for the Montana Fish & Game Department and then with the U.S. Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife in Bismarck, North Dakota. In 1963 he transferred to Huron, South Dakota, and set up the Fish & Wildlife Wetlands Acquisition Office for preservation of waterfowl habitat. In 1971 he was made Chief of the Bird Banding Laboratory in the Office of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, in Patuxent, Maryland. During this employment, Duke contributed to scientific advancement of bird banding and bird population studies, working with ornithologists in Brazil, India and China in establishing their banding programs. He also traveled to Antarctica for a penguin species study, international research following the treaties resulting from the International Geophysical Year. An intrepid and inquisitive traveler, he forged new contacts and made many close friends in distant points of the world. He served as chair of the South Dakota chapter of The Nature Conservancy, secretary of the Raptor Research Foundation, officer of The Wildlife Society and member of The American Ornithologists' Union and the South Dakota Ornithologists.
After retirement, Duke and Jean moved to Fountain, where they raised blueberries and grapes, and enjoyed their new post as Florida naturalists.
Duke was predeceased by his wife Jean; his sister Theo of Neillsville, Wisconsin, and his brother Dr. Charles Jonkel of Missoula.
He is survived by his children, Rhonda Lee of Madison, Wisconsin,; Susan (Manny) Llorca of Panama City Beach, Elise (Craig) Gold of Fountain, Philip (Nicole) Jonkel of Mt. Desert, Maine, Laura (Lars) Kristiansen of Annapolis, Maryland; by his grandchildren Michelle Schoenfeld, Heather Llorca Kropp, Christine Gorman, Caitlin Jonkel and Colin Jonkel; great-grandchildren Austin Schoenfeld, Alexa Schoenfeld, Ava Kropp, Eamon Gorman, and Rowland Gorman; his sister-in-law Joan Jonkel of Missoula; and his nieces, nephews and cousins and his many dear friends.
In lieu of flowers the family would appreciate your consideration of memorial gifts to The Nature Conservancy, The University of Montana Wildlife Program, Bay County Conservancy or the charitable organization of your choice.