Christopher Panek

Obituary of Christopher Panek

Christopher Panek Tribute by Mike Buczkowski Our Lady of Victory Basilica - August 21, 2020 I have the impossible task of summarizing Christopher Panek’s life. I’ve had a lot of help from family and friends putting this together the last few days and I will do my best but apologize up front for falling short. “One of a kind” - an overused phrase but not when describing Christopher. He was bigger than life with a smile that lit up the room and a booming voice that woke up a room and the room next to that one! If you didn’t personally know him, you probably heard of him. He would bust your chops but let you know he loved you at the same time. He was an instant friend to everyone he met. And once you were on his friend list, he always stayed connected. Hockey was a huge part of Chris’ life. It’s one thing to be a talented hockey player but another to then become a coach. A coach is one who instructs of trains; teacher of fundamentals. Chris was much more than a coach. In fact, he didn’t even want his players to call him coach, he preferred Chris. He always kept things in perspective and the kids loved him and respected everything he had to say. He was a mentor and a friend whose impact on kids will last a lifetime. His hockey influence stretched from Buffalo to Plattsburgh and points all over the world. (Check out social media comments from his players and you will get a better understanding of what he means to so many). He loved to have fun and was known for his prank phone calls, silly messages and Facetime calls (sometimes from the bathtub and usually when he was shirtless). Calls to Boomer, and the famous call to Billy Riemann at the B-District house to ask how to get his car un-stolen are all classics! How about when he would say, call me back at TA5-9675? (That’s the old Frank’s Tavern #). Frank’s Tavern stories – A great place to gather. Aunt Pat and Uncle Frank made everyone feel welcome there and gave most of us jobs as bartenders. As far as stories about Frank’s, those will remain for times when we gather outside of church. Aunt Pat, Uncle Frank, Gary, Brian, Tim and your families, my aunts and uncles, Cooper and Sally – We love you all and you have everyone’s deepest sympathies and condolences. Christopher was always the first person there for so many of us through dark and difficult times in our lives, and now we are taking a page out of his book and are here for you and will continue to be. Cooper – You got to experience so much about life first-hand with your dad. He was proud of the man you have become. He loved having you with him, especially around the rinks, and when he was with his friends. His friends have now become your friends. He left you with hundreds of people that you can lean on – accept that gift and stay connected to them. Sally – Chris’ perfect match – his rock, his everything and that was a full-time job. Your love for each other was obvious and he loved your family dearly – your family became his family. You took great care of him and really loved doing it. We would be rich if we had a dollar for every time Sally said she had to go to take care of something for Chris. You knew the way to Chris’ heart was through his stomach and you fed him very well. That made his family and friends happy because it meant he raided our refrigerators a little less often. Sally, thank you for being selfless – for allowing Chris to be Chris, sharing him every day with so many people, knowing how important he was to everyone. We all have personal memories and stories of our time with Chris (Anyone on Facebook has shower karaoke videos). Always keep your special memories of him in your heart and not only smile when they come to mind, but laugh out loud, just like Chris would make you do. After my brother in law Tom passed away, Christopher and Sally moved in with Kelly and the girls for 2 months! Who does that…Christopher and Sally that’s who! They loved having you with them even when he took over the entire couch, the tv, ate everything in the fridge then ate off their plates…They still marvel about how he could fall asleep in an instant. And that same scene was repeated at the homes of many people that are here. And the amazing thing is than when he left, we always looked forward to his next visit. All our lives were better and brighter because of Christopher. This week everything changed and life will never be the same without him here. It’s now up to us to fill the void but it will take all of us to do that. No one person can fill Chris’ shoes. We can do that if we all smile more, laugh more, tell a few more jokes (even if they are corny), hug each more readily, check in with family and friends more and look for people that need a boost, whether it’s a friend or a stranger you meet along the way. If we all do that, the world will be a better place, like it was when Christopher was here. Rest in peace pal. We love you. Passed away on August 17, 2020. Beloved father of Cooper Panek; loving companion of Sally Shea; beloved son of Frank and Patricia (Buczkowski) Panek, brother of Gary (Nancy) Panek, Brian (Kelly) Panek and Tim (Amy) Panek; also survived by many nieces, nephews, six great-nieces and nephews, as well as many cousins and friends. Family and friends may call Thursday from 4-8 PM at the JAMES W. CANNAN FUNERAL HOME, INC. (Southtowns Chapel), 3155 Orchard Park Road, as you prepare to attend, please be aware that face coverings and 6 foot separation are required at all times. With the current 33% capacity restrictions, your entry into our funeral home may be delayed. Thank you for comfort and support to the family and your patience in following these mandated restrictions. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday at 9:15am at Our Lady of Victory Basilica (please assemble at church), the burial at Holy Cross Cemetery will follow the Mass, Chris was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings, he was a member of the Plattsburgh State College Hockey Hall of Fame and was an All American while playing hockey there. Chris coached the Bishop Timon Hockey Team when they won the NYS State Hockey Championships, he also played in the AHL for the New Haven Nighthawks
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Thursday
20
August

Visitation

4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Thursday, August 20, 2020
James W. Cannan Funeral Home
3155 Orchard Park Road
Orchard Park, New York, United States
Friday
21
August

Mass of Christian Burial

9:15 am
Friday, August 21, 2020
Our Lady Of Victory Basilica
767 Ridge Road
Lackawanna, New York, United States

Final Resting Place

Holy Cross Cemetery
2900 South Park Ave
Lackawanna, New York, United States
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