December 16, 1946 ~ May 5, 2018

It is with great sadness the family announces the passing of Gerald “Jerry” Panas on Saturday, May 5, 2018 at 71 years of age. You will be forever loved by your daughter, Angela (Ken) Bechtel; and grand-daughter Kalei Leitch of Lethbridge, Alberta; fiancée, Ellen Trousdale-Ayers of Houston Texas, United States Of America; siblings, Dianne Cameron of Spruce Grove, Alberta, Danny (Heather) Panas of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Ricky (Tina) Panas of Calgary, Alberta, Lenny (Josie) Panas of Edmonton, Alberta, Carol Panas of Wetaskiwin, Alberta; nieces, Tanya Panas of Angus, Ontario, Terry-Lynn (Brad) Andres of Lumby, British Columbia; nephews, Scott (Christina) Cameron of Edmonton, Alberta, Kirk (Liz) Cameron of Kelowna, British Columbia, Christopher (Joy) Panas of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Michael Panas, Calgary, Alberta; great nieces, Katie Stevens of Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Meagan Andres of Lumby, British Columbia, Brooke Cameron of Edmonton, Alberta, Johanna Panas of Campbell River, British Columbia, Sophie Panas of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and newborn Katherine Panas of Niagara Falls, Ontario; great nephews, Tyler Andres of Lumby, British Columbia, and Ryley Cameron of Edmonton, Alberta; uncle, Walter Jacun, Edmonton, Alberta; as well as numerous beloved family and friends.

He was predeceased by his first wife, Bonnie; second wife, Marg; and parents, William and Nina (nee Jacun) Panas.

He met Bonnie Bechtel when they were both pretty young and they were very pleased to welcome Angela in 1970. He talked about Angela all the time despite having to spend long periods of time away working.  He was very excited when found he had a granddaughter, Kalei with whom he developed a strong bond. From the time she was a baby he always talked about her and carried her pictures with him everywhere he went.  

He met Margaret Cunningham whose sense of humour matched his own; together they shared a happy and loving relationship. Marg passed away in the early 2000’s and Jerry’s heart was truly broken. 

Jerry later met Ellen Trousdale Ayers, and they later became engaged. They were happy to accompany Angela, Ken, and Kalei on a Disneyland Cruise to the Caribbean. He was so very proud of his daughter and granddaughter. These were some of his happiest times. Jerry was known to call Ellen twice a day to check in with her and to say good morning and good night to her when they were apart.

Jerry left home at the age of 16 and worked on the highway that was built between Prince Rupert and Prince George. He had some awesome stories about the oil patch. During his career he drove from the Arctic Circle, to the Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific to Atlantic. If you mentioned a city by name or the news brought up a new location he could invariably tell a story about that place, very seldom had he not been to the mentioned city.

Jerry’s work occupied a lot of his world and hours with the many great stories he told. In one of the stories he spoke of a time when he had just moved an oil rig in Alberta. On this move he and his swamper came across a guy who was stuck in the ditch with a huge car. Always willing to help someone, he asked his swamper to chain up the car and he would pull him out. So they pulled the guy out and were travelling along the highway having great conversation before they remembered the guy was still hooked to the chain. They had pulled him about 50 miles before they remembered. The guy was a little white knuckled when they finally stopped.

Another time early in his career he was working for an Alberta outfit moving rigs and he hadn’t been paid for about 6 weeks. So he drove the truck about 200 miles, parked it in a truck stop and left it sitting at a high idle and “lost” the keys very quickly. Then he took a bus home; needless to say he never did receive his paycheque nor was he asked about the truck.

One of his siblings says he hated city driving though he never complained about it.

A long time friend of his stated that he was sure that he had spent years moving oil rigs around Alberta and B.C with Paps, he also hauled with LTL, West freight, Patterson Noble, and pipe for NIC before he purchased his own truck and made hundreds of trips from Alberta to Texas. He was accident free for nearly 55 years before retiring in 2015.

Jerry’s nephew recalls when he was three and Jerry bought him a lollipop that was bigger than he was; and it became a kind of a ritual between them after that. 

One of his nieces stated that he had picked her up on numerous trips (after she had lost her mom) and took her on some of his adventures; he would laugh at her when she was nervous while driving thru the tunnels. This effort he made for her meant so much to her as she was growing up without her mom; and she will never forget his kindness towards her.

Another nephew described how Jerry possessed all those things that money can’t buy: manners, morals, respect, character, common sense, trust, patience, class, integrity and love. And he thought that Jerry’s legacy was that he was the one who wanted to ‘keep the family together.’

So we say to our dear father, grandfather, fiancé, brother, brother in-law, uncle, great-uncle, dear friend, and nephew…Gerald “Jerry” Panas We are going to miss you our dear one…who never said a bad thing about anyone; knowing how destructive criticism and negativity is, he never spread gossip; who didn’t hold a grudge with anyone; whose wisdom surpassed all of ours in ways we may never realize; who cried openly in sad movies; who loved animals…especially little dogs…. (cats and all animals in fact); whose legacy includes a burning desire to love and accept each and every family member and in his humble way and with never ending humour had a way to endear others to him and to make others feel comfortable. You were such an intelligent and fine man Jerry Panas. Forever loved and sadly missed.

Celebration of Life
Saturday, July 28, 2018
at 1:00pm
Royal Canadian Legion Branch 86
5003 – 52 Avenue
Wetaskiwin, Alberta

Jerry’s family would greatly appreciate your attendance at the service
and look forward to hearing the stories you have to share.