Raised in St. Louis, he moved to the Seattle area in 1981 after his brother came to the Puget Sound region for the Navy. Rick quickly landed a job at a nursery and was introduced to a close-knit group of childhood friends.
It was through these friends that Rick met his future wife, Linda DeBell. They were married on June 19, 1982.
His wife said his passions included his family; coaching basketball for his two sons, Kelly and Blake; his work; and golf.
Friends will always remember Rick as the five-time winner of the Mr. West competition - his last win in the homespun games coming even as he was losing his battle with cancer.
The 43-year-old was the real athlete among a zany but tight group of buddies who regularly hold the competitions. Mr. West is the most elaborate of those games - an annual two-day extravaganza of volleyball, bowling, badminton, horseshoes, golf, you name it.
Mr. Pankow won the last Mr. West competition, even though he was weakened by non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and months of chemotherapy. His younger brother, Craig, said that a week later, Mr. Pankow could barely walk because of the cancer.
"He had fun but he had a competitive streak in him, too," said his business partner, Chuck Burget. "No matter what it was, work or play, boy oh boy, he would go after it. But he would never do it at anybody else's expense."
Mr. Pankow co-owned Pacific Plants, a wholesale nursery business in Issaquah.
About The Rick Pankow Foundation
We are a non-profit organization helping "real people with real needs" in the Northwest. The foundation was started in memory of Rick Pankow, a local businessman and friend. The Rick Pankow Foundation was started in 2001 after Rick's passing, allowing the legacy of Rick to live on in the spirit of giving.
About Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, also called non-Hodgkin lymphoma, is cancer that originates in your lymphatic system, the disease-fighting network spread throughout your body. In non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, tumors develop from lymphocytes — a type of white blood cell.
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is more common than the other general type of lymphoma — Hodgkin lymphoma.
Many different subtypes of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma exist. The most common non-Hodgkin's lymphoma subtypes include diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma.
Please click on the links below for more information on Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma: