Johnny Paul Podkonyak, 90, of Lewellen passed away early Friday morning, March 1, 2024 at the Regional West Garden County Hospital in Oshkosh.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 9, 2024 at the Lewellen Tiger Den with Brenda Tophoj, PMA officiating.  Burial in the Ash Hollow Cemetery will be held at a later date.

Memorials in John’s name can be made to the Lewellen Rural Fire Department or Lewellen Tiger Den.

Holechek-Bondegard Funeral Homes and Cremations in Oshkosh is serving the Podkonyak family.

Family and friends can leave condolences at

Johnny Paul was born October 12, 1933 to Paul and Edith (Brunt) Podkonyak at their home in Lewellen.  John attended school in Lewellen graduating in 1951.  While in school he excelled in sports and enjoyed all sports throughout his life, especially Husker football.

After high school he was employed at Jack Beard’s filling station before going to Omaha to work construction with his brother-in-law, Dick Roberts.  He later returned to Lewellen to work for Patterson Chevron Station until 1955, when he was drafted into the Navy.  While in the Navy, most of John’s service was spent on the USS Lexington, patrolling the Pacific.

After he was discharged in 1957, he returned to Lewellen and married JoAnn Grace on November 8, 1958.  After a short stay in Omaha, John and JoAnn returned once again to Lewellen and joined the family farming and ranching operation.  Two daughters were born to John and JoAnn: Holli Ann in December 1959 and Jill Marie in October 1965. 

John retired in 1999 and purchased an RV in which John and JoAnn traveled the country for 3 years before buying a winter home in Mesa, Arizona.  While in Arizona, John took up golf and enjoyed entertaining old and new friends.  Following 23 winters spent in Arizona, they returned to their home in. Lewellen for good, just recently celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary.

John is survived by his wife, JoAnn of Lewellen; daughter Jill (William) Campbell of Oshkosh; son-in-law, Sid Fessler of North Loup; brothers-in-law, Merlin (Arlene) Grace and Butch (Jeannie) Grace; and several nieces and nephews, cousins, and many friends.

John was preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Edith, daughter, Holli in 2014; sister and brother-in-law, June (Dick) Roberts; brother-in-law and his wife, Marvin (Gail) Grace, mother and father-in-law, Dale and Vi Grace, and other extended family members.