Herman J. Panacek Jr., 79

November 29, 2021

Herman J. Panacek, Jr. of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, formerly of Warwick, Maryland, passed away on November 29, 2021 at Memorial Manchester Hospital in Connecticut after a brief hospitalization. He was travelling with his wife Patricia on their way to New Hampshire for a visit with their children and grandchildren. His family is grateful for the compassionate care he received from all his healthcare providers.Born on January 11, 1942 in Trenton, New Jersey, Herman was the son of Herman and Anne Panacek. He graduated from Trenton Catholic High School and attended the National Agricultural College of Doylestown, PA.

Herman had a distinguished career in agricultural, specifically horticultural, which began as a young boy when he first grew pyracantha from cuttings in recycled tomato cans on his grandparent’s farm in Hamilton Twp, NJ. He began his professional career at Howe Nurseries in Pennington, NJ in 1960 holding many positions including Landscape Supervisor and Plant Market Manager. He started his own business, Herman J. Panacek Jr. Inc. Landscape Nurserymen in 1973. The firm’s clients included corporate office parks, corporate headquarters, special environmental projects, shopping malls, and commercial areas, major roadways, municipal recreational facilities, public housing projects, and municipal renewal projects on the East Coast. In 1980, Herman and his wife, Patricia purchased 500 acres in Quakertown, NJ and began Sycamore Lane Nursery. In 1987, they purchased a second farm in Warwick, Maryland, also named Sycamore Lane Nursery where they continued to grow shade and flowering trees on 1000 acres. The nurseries were recognized for their production of high-quality plant material, the latest growing practices, and leadership in conservation and natural resources management and were host sites for many state and local agricultural and nursery tours.

His company was a three-time recipient of The National Landscape Award sponsored by the American Association of Nurserymen and awarded at the White House by First Ladies Carter and Reagan. The award is recognized as the nation’s oldest and most respected environmental and community program for making significant contributions to the quality of life in their communities through landscape beautification. Herman received several awards for his tireless commitment to land conservation including New Jersey’s Outstanding Conservation Farmer of the Year (1984) and was inducted into the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association Hall of Fame for his many years of service to the industry. In 1991, he received New Jersey’s State Board of Agriculture Service Award for his dedication to and promotion of the Garden State’s many agribusinesses. He was also recognized for his successes in the American Nurseryman trade publication.

In addition to his professional career in the landscaping and nursery trades, Herman served many organizations including the NJ State Board of Agriculture, NJ Association of Conservation Districts (Vice President, 1986), NJ Association of Nurserymen, Hunterdon County (NJ) Board of Agriculture, Hunterdon County Planning Board (Chairman, 1986), and Hunterdon County Soil Conservation District (Supervisor 1983-1986.)

Though Herman devoted long hours to the farm and business enterprises, he made time for community activities. He was President of the Colonial Fire Company in Hamilton, NJ, and an active member of the Amwell Valley Fire Department in Ringoes. Herman was deeply involved in his Catholic faith. He served as a Lectern for 45 years in the Dioceses of Trenton, NJ, and Wilmington, DE. He has also donated his skills and plant material for the design and landscape of many parishes and contributed the same to many other non-profit organizations. Last but certainly not least, were the Christmas seasons when Herman spread holiday cheer in his role as Santa Claus.

Herman’s achievements are numerous but would have been impossible without the devotion, support and hard work of his wife Patricia whose contributions to the success of the farm and business enterprises were endless. His family will always be his proudest achievement.

Herman is survived by his wife of 58 years, Patricia Schultz Panacek; his daughter Elizabeth Shannon and her loving companion Michael O’Neil of Francestown, NH; his son Kenneth and his wife, Amy of Nantucket, MA; and two granddaughters, Alexandra Shannon of Steamboat Springs, CO and Grace Shannon of Bristol, RI. He is also survived by his five siblings: James and Joan of Hamilton Twp., NJ; Carol Hilgendorff of Columbus, NJ; Thomas of Reno, NV; and John of Columbus, NJ; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.

A viewing will be held from 4 – 7 PM on Wednesday, December 8th, at the Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory, 3110 Lititz Pike, Lititz, PA 17543. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 AM on Thursday, December 9th, at Historic St. Mary’s Church, 119 Prince Street, Lancaster, PA 17603. Private interment will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery, 401 New Holland Avenue, Lancaster, PA 17602.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Herman’s memory to Historic St. Mary’s Church, 119 Prince Street, Lancaster, PA 17603 or Longwood Gardens, PO Box 501, Kennett Square, PA 19348. Please indicate “In memory of Herman Panacek.” Donations may also be made online at

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Condolences to the Family

December 10, 2021

It saddened me to hear this news about Herman. He was one of my favorite people in the nursery trade. I enjoyed seing him at events and having a great conversation. Herman always had a smile and nice word to pass along. He was kind and thoughtful. Please accept our condolences.
Steve Castorani and the staff at North Creek Nurseries.   

December 09, 2021

Dear Pat,
We will miss your “Big Guy”. He was truly a nice guy.
I will help with Mel the pussy any time.

December 07, 2021

Herman has been a friend and a customer for almost 45 years. I always enjoyed visiting with him. A big man with a big heart. Always honest and straight foward. He will be greatly missed by all that knew him.
Fount May
May Nursery

December 06, 2021

Dear Pat and family, I’m so heavy hearted writing this. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing “Dr. Tree” for 19 years. He was ALWAYS a joy to see and I fondly remember him as Santa when he would come into the office. You are forever in my thoughts and prayers! May you take comfort in all your beautiful memories during this difficult time! He will be greatly missed! All my love, Melissa V. 

December 05, 2021

I knew Herm as a big man in Hunterdon County: both in physical stature and in what all he did for the ag community, locally and on the state level. He was an innovator in many ways, an inspiration to others and an advocate for agriculture and horticulture in particular. My condolences to his family.
Terry Wright

December 04, 2021

So sorry to hear, we were classmates  in Trenton Catholic and remember Herman fondly.  So glad that he lived a full life and was recorgnized for his work.  Dennis Keenan and William Harbach

December 03, 2021

What a great guy. He was gracious enough to let me hunt on his property in Warwick Maryland and never asked me to pay a dime. The world lost a truly old school kinda man. RIP Herman, thanks for everything.

December 03, 2021

Herman always made Christmas at Twinny’s so special when he dressed up as Santa to surprise the kids. I always enjoyed talking with him through the years.  My prayers are with his entire family at this time. 
Tara Peace

Wednesday, December 08, 2021
4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory
3110 Lititz Pike
Lititz, PA 17543
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Thursday, December 09, 2021
10:00 AM
Historic St. Mary's Church
119 Prince Street
Lancaster, PA 17603
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