KINSMAN, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Philip Frank Panak, age 97, died on Saturday, October 14, 2023, in Warren, Ohio.
He was born on May 1, 1926, in Madera, Pennsylvania, the sixth of fourteen children of the late Mary Pauline (Kitko) and Stephen Frank Panak, both of whom immigrated as children from Slovakia.
Phil was a 1944 graduate of Kinsman High School where he played on the basketball and baseball teams. Phil told stories of skating down Stratton Creek in the winter to get to school in Kinsman and of getting together with other boys and catching rides to Cleveland Stadium with Bill McKinley, the famous baseball umpire.
After graduation, Phil was drafted into the Army, but he failed the physical due to a diagnosed perforated eardrum. With the war effort ongoing he began his steel career by welding on a Sherman tank assembly line in Youngstown, Ohio, while also taking courses at Youngstown College. Six years later when the Korean War broke out Phil was again drafted and this time he passed the physical. Phil trained at Fort Dix and also in Texas and then was sent overseas on a troop ship across the North Pacific in winter to Korea where he served as a radio operator in the artillery, 8th Corp, U.S. Army, earning four bronze battle stars on his Korean campaign ribbon.
When Phil returned from the war he re-entered the steel industry, eventually working for Target Stamped Metal Products in Kinsman, Ohio for over 30 years, where he did quality control work, innovation on production line automation and he managed the precision tooling department until he retired in 1987.
Phil was a member of Bronzwood Golf Club for over 50 years, where he won a match play club championship and several league championships with the Target team. He also enjoyed giving his time and talents to Harry Lee Post No. 506 of the American Legion, where he was a former Post Commander, member of the bowling team, coach of the Little League team and an active member for over 70 years. Many Kinsman friends would see Phil once a month during Legion Pancake Breakfast season where Phil managed the pancake griddle well into his 90s.
On November 26, 1960, Phil married Grayce Dale Goddard. When Phil and Grayce were returning from their honeymoon in Florida, Grayce asked where they were going to live, as Phil still lived on his parents’ farm where he was one of several older brothers to six younger sisters (several of whom would constantly tease him that it was past time he got married). Phil surprised Grayce in that he had already bought land and built a house, where he and Grayce raised three sons and where Phil kept a large vegetable garden, built a horse stable for Grayce’s pony, a treehouse and a swimming pool to keep his sons busy and also a golf green in the front yard for short game practice.
Survivors include three sons, Steve (Chris) Panak of Kinsman, Ohio, William (Shelton) Panak of Richmond, Virginia and Michael (Peggy) Panak of Zephyrhills, Florida; five grandchildren, Bradley, Zachary (Alexandra Hutz), Claire (Nathaniel) Tombes, Laura and Rachel; a great-grandson, Benedict Athanasius Tombes and two great-granddaughters, Felicity Rose Marie Tombes and Hyacinth Aurora Tombes; his older brother, Frank Panak and younger sisters, Irene Sawayda, Helen Flannery, Nancy Kwallek, Rosie Weischedel and Patricia Horning.
Phil is preceded in death by his parents; his wife of nearly 60 years Grayce and by his older siblings, Joseph Panak, Ann Kozak, Agnes Slywczak and Matthew Panak and by his younger siblings, Albert Panak and Joan Sawayda and Wendell Panak.
A graveside service will be held on Saturday, October 21, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. at Kinsman Cemetery, with military honors.
Calling hours will be held on Friday, October 20, 2023, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Baumgardner Funeral & Cremation Service, 8569 Main Street, Kinsman, Ohio.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Kinsman Public Library, PO Box 166, Kinsman, OH, 44428.
Share a fond memory or condolence at www.baumgardnerfuneralhome.com.
A television tribute will air Wednesday, October 18 at the following approximate times: 7:10 a.m. on FOX, 12:22 p.m. on WKBN, 5:08 p.m. on MyYTV and 7:27 p.m. on WYTV. Video will be posted here the day of airing.