Chris was born in Spokane, Washington, in 1951 to Lavern and Betty Lou Drechsel. At ten years old, she moved to Sunnyvale, CA, where she later worked as the counter girl at the Ole Station House, a restaurant that her parents ran. Some of Chris’ favorite memories of her youth were playing and making mischief with her brothers and sisters.

In 1967, her family moved again, and Chris completed high school in Atascadero, CA, where she played basketball, bowled, and was a carhop waitress at Jolly Jack’s Drive-in. After graduating high school in 1969, she enrolled in Cuesta College’s Nursing Program in San Luis Obispo, CA. Although Chris fainted the first time learning to give shots, she persevered and became a Registered Nurse (RN) in two years, graduating in 1971. Chris loved being a nurse, initially at Children’s Hospital in Fresno, CA, and then spent the majority of her nursing career at Twin Cities Hospital in Templeton, CA. She worked in Labor & Delivery, Emergency Room, and Surgery & Recovery. Although she worked as a manager at times, she much preferred working as a hands-on nurse. She was fulfilled contributing to the well-being of others, including as a member of the Flying Samaritans, and enjoyed the sense of community serving alongside doctors and other nurses.

In 1977, Chris married and had two daughters, NikiAnne (1979) and KelliJo (1981). They enjoyed life on the horse and cattle ranch where the girls grew up in Paso Robles, CA. She took pride in working hard and loved having a good time. As accomplished as Chris was in her life, she was most proud of her daughters and of being a mother. Chris guided them to excel at whatever they set their minds to.

Chris later divorced, and in 1989, she took her girls on a group ski trip where she met James (Kimo) Pankey. They fell in love and got married in 2000. Chris and Kimo enjoyed exploring the world and having adventures when they weren’t working – on the farm, at the hospital, or on other business endeavors. They were a great team.

Some of the things Chris enjoyed in life were traveling the world, gardening, playing games (especially Scrabble), being with family and friends, sitting out on her patio, and taking in the view of her exquisitely beautiful roses. She was also blessed with being a grandmother. She loved hosting her three grandchildren for weeks at a time at “Camp Keke and Pops.”

Her relationship with and faith in God uplifted and supported her in her life and through her death. After living with breast cancer for six years, it metastasized, and she returned home into the arms of God on May 9, 2024. 

Chris was preceded in death by her parents, mother Betty Lou Mensing, father Lavern Drechsel, stepfather Gerald Mensing, and brothers Joseph Mensing and Daniel Mensing.

Chris is survived by her husband Kimo Pankey, siblings Sandra Broeder (John), Frederick Mensing (Patti), Susan Thompson (Kent), Timothy Mensing (Darla), Xena Wickliffe (Eric), daughters NikiAnne Feinberg (Chris Farmer) and KelliJo Glienke (Kalvin) and their three children, plus numerous nieces and nephews.

May Chris’ legacy live on by us tending to our relations and matters with care and excellence. 

A Celebration of Life for Chris will be held on Saturday, July 13, at 11 a.m. at Allegretto Vineyard Resort in Paso Robles, CA. 

Donations in Chris’ honor can be made to Patriot Paws, Click Here, an organization Chris donated to herself.