Edward, Harold, Robert, John, and George Panzer were born in New York City to Belgian immigrant Herman Panzer and his German-born wife, Martha. After their father died in 1922, all five brothers came to Tekamah, Nebraska, on an orphan train. They were placed with different foster families in Burt County. Although none of the brothers was adopted, they all went on to become successful and productive citizens.
The Panzer brothers came on the orphan train from the Children's Aid Society mentioned in this article from the Burt County Herald, October 26, 1922.
George Panzer was the youngest of the four brothers, born in 1918. After arriving in Nebraska, Leo and Lillian Bucy of Decatur took in four-year-old George and his brother, John. George graduated from high school in Tekamah, attended Nebraska Wesleyan University, and served in the Army Air Force during World War II. He married Mary Ann Mensik in 1947 in Omaha. The couple moved to Fremont around 1957, where George became regional manager for Franklin Life Insurance Company. He died in 1996.
Born in 1915, John Panzer was five when he posed for this photo in New York. He and his brother, George, lived with foster parents Leo and Lillian Bucy in Decatur, Nebraska. John married Kathryn York in 1946, and they had five children, Ruth, Raymond, Roger, Leo, and Lillian. The family moved to Omaha around 1962, where John worked as an administrator for Immanuel Medical Center.
Born in 1913, Robert A. Panzer was about nine when he came to Nebraska the year after this photo was taken in New York. He graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University and became a pastor of the First Methodist Church in Sacramento, California. He married Jean McLaren French and they had two children, Robert M. and Elizabeth. Robert died in 1995 and is buried in San Diego, California.
Robert Panzer received an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1952.
Harold Panzer, New York, 1921. Harold was born in 1909 and came to Nebraska at age thirteen. Although his first foster family didn't work out, he found a good home with Mr. and Mrs. Earl Babbitt of Decatur, Nebraska. He graduated from high school in Tekamah, and earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Nebraska Wesleyan University. He received a medical degree from the University of Nebraska in 1937. After interning at Methodist Hospital in Omaha, he practiced medicine in Bassett, where he was instrumental in building the town's first hospital. He has four children, James, John, Barbara, and Robert. He and his wife, Jo Ann, live in Ainsworth.
The Panzer brothers posed for a photo in Nebraska in 1930.
The oldest of the brothers, Edward Panzer, was born in 1907 and became a doctor. He served in Okinawa during World War II, where this photo was taken. Edward died in Los Angeles, California, in 1991.
Nebraska History Museum