George Joseph Honzatko

September 24, 1926October 16, 2013

George Joseph Honzatko was born as the only child to Anna and Joseph Honzatko on September 24, 1926, in Detroit Michigan. He attended Detroit public schools, graduating from Mackenzie High School in 1943. His education was interrupted by service (1945-46) as a medical corpsman in the United States Navy, during and after World War II, for which he was honored with American Area Campaign and Victory medals. He completed his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry at Wayne State University in 1949. He continued his education at Wayne State University, earning a Master’s degree in geography in 1951.

George began full-time employment in 1953 as a research analyst for the Detroit Regional Planning Commission, a position he held until 1961, and part-time employment as an instructor at Wayne State University. Along with his work for the Regional planning Commission and Wayne State University, George received a Doctor’s of Philosophy degree in geography at the University of Michigan (1957) and a Master’s degree in urban planning at Wayne State University (1961). He became an assistant professor of urban planning at Wayne State University in 1961, and not long after, became the Chair of the Department of Urban Planning, a position which he held for over two decades. He retired in 1994 from Wayne State University after 38 years of service, and moved to Ames, Iowa, in 1997 to be close to family.

George was an avid landscape photographer, capturing black-on-white images using large format negatives. He traveled the country for over fifty years, photographing the United States, and filling shoe boxes with his art. His interest in photography led him to many places in the western United States, on backpacking trips and to the summits of mountains. His last backpacking experience came in the Bridger Wilderness, Wyoming, in 2007, a trip that included all three generations of his family. George enjoyed good food, good wine and good scotch. He sorely missed the latter in the days just before his death.

George died in Ames on October 16, 2013, at Mary Greeley Hospital. He is survived by his wife Darlene, whom he had known for 66 years, his son Richard, his daughter-in-law Wen-Chy Chu, and his grandchildren James and Leigh. George’s cremated remains will be scattered at Glacier National Park at a later date. On-line condolences may be expressed at


George Joseph Honzatko

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October 20, 2013

Rich: Tania and I read about your father in the Tribune this morning. It is clear that he led a full, interesting and productive life and he will be greatly missed by you and your family. We want to extend our sincere condolences to you and your family.

Carl and Tania