John Panning is an incredibly intelligent and well-read man with a keen interest in American bridge building and theology. His sharp mind allows him to recall almost anything asked of him – from technical details and grammar rules to organ stoplists or when an instrument was installed.
He is a well-respected member of the Dobson family and has been with them since 1992, providing voice and tonal finishing on new instruments as well as determining pipe scales. Additionally, he oversees many other aspects of the company, such as website management.
Early Life and Education
John was born in New Ulm, Minnesota on May 13th 1931 to a farming family and enjoyed fishing boats and panning for gold.
He received his early education at a Lutheran two-room elementary school, where he gained insight into the value of learning from others and was nurtured with an ardent Christian faith at home.
Panning was fortunate enough to have Ralph Gehrke as his professor at Northwestern College in Watertown, Wisconsin. His teaching style and encouragement were especially beneficial to Panning; in turn, Panning emulated them when taking classes on New Testament Greek.
Panning followed his graduation by serving as pastor at Salem Ev Lutheran Church in Escanaba, Michigan. In 1961 he wed Virginia Nelson and together they had four sons: James, John, Mark and Joel.
Panning has been an accomplished pipe organ builder for well over four decades. His most acclaimed accomplishment was working together with Lynn Dobson and The Colliers on a highly complex three manual concert organ for St. Nicholas Church in Montserrat – an undertaking which required the expertise of numerous technical specialists.
Panning is not only an accomplished organ builder, but a passionate family man. To show his appreciation for those in need, he has donated several fine musical instruments – including a grand piano to the Musee de Saint-Paul in Saint Paul – as well as financially to numerous worthwhile causes. Furthermore, he serves as president of the American Pipe Organ Builders Association (APOBA), having been a member since 1989.
Achievements and Honors
John Panning has earned a variety of honors throughout his long-standing career, but none quite compare to being inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Hall of Fame on April 28, 2007. He was one of eight new members to be inducted that evening.
His academic accomplishments included being named Department Head for Geology and Director of Hydrogeologic Research. He also made a name for himself as an influential author, writing several groundbreaking USGS publications such as Arizona Water (Water-Supply Paper 1648), which demonstrated the capabilities of USGS’ new Water Resources Division. Never content to rest on his laurels, in the early 1960s he created an innovative Hydrology Field Camp course that became a landmark success.
John Panning was an impressively strong and fast wrestler who earned a 29-11 record while attending college at the University of Minnesota. After transferring to South Dakota State University, he went on to record 7-3 as a Division II National qualifier.
He served as team captain twice and earned the University of Minnesota’s Most Outstanding Wrestler Award in 1972 and 1973, becoming a Big Ten champion in 1973 and national runner-up the following year (1972).
John was an avid reader with an in-depth knowledge of technical terms and grammar rules. As the firm’s resident wordsmith, John is frequently requested to compose or edit printed material.
John Panning is a gold miner with an estimated net worth of $5 million. He gained notoriety for his role on the hit documentary Boneyard Alaska, which follows a group of gold miners as they venture into Alaskan wilderness to search for nuggets. Additionally, John has starred in several films; most recently In the Dark is about uncovering thousands of ancient bones in North America. With an adoring fan base and determined attitude, John earned his fortune through various investments.