Don Podobnik

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Graveside services for Donald “Don” Podobnik are Monday, June 26, 2023 at 2:00 at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Anaconda, MT. 

A luncheon will follow the graveside service at O’Bella!  Restaurant, 1515 E. Commercial St in Anaconda.

To offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Donald go to longfellowfinneganriddle.com 

Donald M Podobnik was born to Della and Frank Podobnik in Anaconda, MT, on February 22, 1943, and passed away peacefully on February 2, 2023 in Omaha, NE, with his wife Lois by his side.

Don was the youngest of 7 children with 4 Kelly half-brothers (Orville, Roy, Rae, Robert), a half-sister (Elizabeth Podobnik) and a full brother (Frank Podobnik), who all preceded him in death.  

Don graduated from Anaconda High School in 1961 and was a proud member of the Copperheads football team. 

He graduated from the Montana School of Mines in 1965 with a BS in Metallurgical Engineering, and two years later, in 1967, from Montana Tech with an MS in Mineral Dressing Engineering.  

While an undergraduate at School of Mines, he worked weekends at the Anaconda smelter in the metallurgical lab to earn money for college.  While completing his MS, he was twice awarded the distinguished DW McGlashen Research Fellowship. 

In 1971. Don completed a Master of Engineering in Mineral Engineering Management from Penn State University as a teaching fellow.

Don had over 35 years of overseas experience in more than 29 countries working in operations and process development, including feasibility studies and pilot plant programs.  

One career highlight was his time at the world-class Southern Peru Copper Corporation’s Cuajone and Toquepala operating units, where he advanced to become manager of the Cuajone unit.  

Another memorable assignment was at Ok Tedi Mining LTD in Papua, New Guinea, where he oversaw the conversion from the world’s largest gold producer to an 80,000 metric ton per day copper and gold operation. 

During his time at Tech, Don met and married Judith Eleanor Hayes.  She accompanied him for many years overseas during his years of operations, and she spent that time teaching in Peru and doing social work in the U.S.  

They had three children who survived them: Dr Bruce, a sociologist and college professor at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR; Kimberly McCarl (Todd McCarl), Communications and Government Affairs officer for Contra Costa Health Services in Concord, CA; and Kerri, (Tylor Hartwell), Finance Director for mortgage portfolios at Barclay’s in London.  

They also have two grandchildren: Connor and Jade (Kim & Todd) and one great-grandson, Logan (Jade & Vince Collins).

While in southern Peru, Don quickly became a major organizer of community parties, including Halloween Haunted Houses, and frequent pig roasts in a pit in his backyard.  

The parties always included endless hours of music recorded to his reel-to-reel tape deck from hundreds of records that he brought to Peru from the states.  

Music continued to be a major hobby and source of enjoyment for Don throughout his life.  At the time of his death, he had a collection of over 600 CD’s and an iPod playlist of more than 3,500 songs.  

After 38 years of marriage in 2004, Judy died suddenly, breaking Don’s heart.  Five years later he went online and met Dr. Lois Veath of Chadron, who had been widowed after 39 years of marriage and had a broken heart too. 

They both knew what it was like to lose the first great loves of their lives, and they quickly became each other’s “Second Act.” 

Don and Lois discovered a new love that brought companionship, laughter, music and dancing, fly-fishing and camping in the mountains, good food and good wine, Packers football, and travel or fishing on Don’s jon boat, “Dances with Trout.”  

In 2011 after Lois’s retirement from Chadron State College, they married in the foothills of Golden, CO at sunset overlooking the city lights of Denver with their six children officiating at the ceremony.  

Don gained three “bonus” children: Jisella, senior executive for in-home senior healthcare in Omaha NE; Logan, a family dentist and implant specialist in Harlan, IA; and Blake (Angela Martin), a retired Marine Lt. Col. now instructional designer for the National Security Space Institute in Colorado Springs.  

During his eleven-year marriage to Lois, they were blessed with 6 grandchildren and a great-grandson:  Amelia (Jisella); Warren and Calvin (Logan); and Ethan, Cora and David (Blake & Angela), and great-grandson Logan (Jade & Vince).

Known as “Pop” to his children and grands, Don later suffered from frontal lobe degeneration. While he would forget certain moments and conversations, he never forgot his family. He fondly remembered each of his children and grandchildren and all his many cousins, nieces, nephews, sisters-in-law and dear friends. 

Even at the very end, he was up for a glass of wine, some black licorice, a Packers game, and a funny story that caused him to belly laugh, all while thinking he was still living in Peru!  

Don and Lois were grateful for the companionship and love they had during their Second Act, the very best last chapter filled with dignity and choice and compassion and love. 

Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral Home and Cremation Services has been privileged to assist with Donald’s services.

1 thought on “Don Podobnik”

  1. I’m so sorry for your loss, Lois! You had a great impact, on me as a student and influenced my teaching, in ways you will never know. You were a great asset to the education field and I am sending prayers for you and your loved ones!

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