Donald E. Sankovich

September 4, 1936 - December 20, 2021

Dedicated father, husband and loving friend, Donald E. Sankovich passed away peacefully at his home in Taylorsville, Utah on Dec. 20, 2021, from pancreatic cancer. “Sanko” was 85 years old. He was larger than life; always the star of the show. Everything he did had to be the best.

Donald was born Sept. 4, 1936, in McGill NV, to Lucas and Katherine (Mesich) Sankovich. He was the second of four children.

He graduated from White Pine County High School in 1955 where he excelled in all sports. A multi-scholarship athlete, he received a full football scholarship from Brigham Young University, where he was on track to play quarterback in the late ‘50s. But then life got in the way and Donald would return to McGill to begin working at Kennecott Copper while serving seven years in the Nevada National Guard.

On May 18, 1957, he married his sweetheart, Frances Pastorelli (who he long called, “The Queen”), at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Ely, NV. They were married for 64 years and raised three children – Lisa, Tommy and Scott. By 1978, Donald and his family transferred from Ely to Salt Lake City, where he took a position with what is now Rio Tinto Kennecott as a Reverberatory Supervisor in the smelter. He was a hard- working man who took pride in his job; he never took a sick day from work in his life. And, after devoting 40 years of service, Donald retired in 1994.

Through it all, Donald was an outdoorsman. He loved hunting, fishing and preparing meals for friends with the animals he caught. Barbecuing over an open fire was a proud skill that he passed onto his oldest son. Every Christmas, he would prepare his infamous sarma, a family dish that everyone enjoyed, and a tradition that will be honored. And we’ll always remember his sandwich – the “Dagwood” – he made for golf outings or family excursions. He’d never leave home without it.

Sanko loved watching sports on TV. Both the BYU Cougars and New York Yankees have lost one of their biggest fans, for he rarely missed a game. He loved all sports. He refereed Nevada High School State Tournaments for many years and played golf with his “Thursday crew” nearly every week for several years.

Golfing, putting a puzzle together, gardening and walking in the mall with friends were his favorite activities during his 27 years of retirement. Donald loved life. He would say, “if I go tomorrow, then I’m fine.” Enjoying a beer on his patio while admiring his flowers and pristine grass brought him much joy. Dad, we hope you, Gordy and C.J. are having a cold one right now.

A member of St. Martin De Porres Catholic Church, Donald is survived by his wife Frances, and their three children; Lisa, Tommy (Kim) and Scott (Shane); his brother, Larry (Carla) his sister-in-law, Thaila Sankovich and many nieces and nephews.

Donald is preceded in death by his parents, his brother John and his sister, Sharon (Ken).

The family wants to thank Dr. Daniel Yarrish of Granger Medical and the staff of Canyon Home Care & Hospice (especially Veronica) for their care and comfort of Donald and his family in these last weeks. The family would also like to thank, Starks Funeral Parlor, for oversight of Donald’s final arrangements.

Sanko loved his Scotch; he loved his Queenie, and he always had a story to tell or an opinion to share. He had a lot of them. We’ll share memories of him forever. Zivio, Dad! We love you.

A celebration of life will be held on Thursday, January 13, 2022 from 6:00 until 8:00 PM at Starks Funeral Parlor, 3651 South 900 East, Salt Lake City. Guests are encouraged to use the parking located on the north side of the building. Donald will be laid to rest at private family service at Mt. Calvary Catholic Cemetery.