Saturday, January 5, 2008


My father-in-law, Bernard Pannone, died this morning. He shared with his grandson a love of ice cream, an ever-curious mind and a great appreciation for how things work. Soon after I met Stephen, I began to hear stories about this wonderful man who fathered five incredible children. He was a gentleman in the true sense of the word: courteous, honorable, good and gentle.

Bernie had a knack for speaking a completely made-up language of gibberish and making it sound real. Toby was enthralled by this unexpected gift and spent hours with his grandfather in a shared world of emphasis, hoots and laughter.

During family gatherings I could usually find Bernie and Yoni engaged in long conversations about engineering, history or boxing. And I counted on Bernie for a connection to Stephen’s past, ever-ready warmth and love, and a constant willingness to engage.

I loved his voice, his deep abiding faith and his tendency to fret in the most genteel way. I will miss him. I feel so lucky to have become a part of his family.

May his memory be for a blessing.


Regina said...

Dear Toby, Yoni, Stephen, Mooki, and all Pannones and Saltzmans and friends:

"Deep calls to deep" once again. I am so sorry for this latest in a relentless series of losses to your family--but inspired as always by your affirmations of the love, connections and memories that do not die.

Sometimes what at first appears like gibberish, "a completely made-up language," turns out to be the deepest and strongest hope--more "real" than anything else.

May the Place of God's presence comfort you, wherever you share memories of Bernard Pannone--and may the coming days and weeks grow with consolation, healing, courage and hope for all of you.

Love, Regina

JoAnn said...

There is little to add to what Regina so beautifully expressed, except to say that Stephen's father must have been extraordinary, because Stephen is.
May his memory always bring a smile to your face.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, especially as you rally your resources for the health of another member of the family. I'm so glad Toby will have wonderful memories of his silly, beautiful grandfather, as will you all. Sending healing thoughts to your family, daily.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear about the loss of a special person. My sympathy and love goes out to you all.

noogs said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Bernard sounded like an amazing man.

LindaSueBuhl said...

It is wonderful to have had someone so special. Of course I'm very sorry for your loss and from your writing about Stephen and your father in law - it is obvious his imprint will remain on your lives. Peace and God's blessings on you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear of your loss.
I am praying for your family at this time.
Blessings to you.

Anonymous said...

At CUA, Bernie fought at 147 lb.; I went in at 178. In the locker room as we waited our turns in the ring, we strategised our oponents and warmed each other up sparring. We had a great year together getting to know each other. I saw Bernie and Merci about 18 months ago in Atlanta. My heart was heavy as I watched the courage of two beautiful people as they faced their trials. We don't know why God chooses His good children on earth to carry the heavy burdens -- perhaps he uses them to show us all our good fortune. I know now a deep sorrow for the Pannone's but I know also Bernie, Merci and all the good times the Pannone shared will give the strength needed to understand God's will.

joe della ratta

Kathy Dublin said...

I was blessed to know Bernie Pannone - and Merci for many years in Greenwood. Merci & I worked together at the Council on Aging. During that time, a Meals on Wheels kitchen was built and named in honor of Merci.
I'll never forget the day the sign was placed over the facility - bearing the name of "Mercedes A. Pannone Nutrition Center" - Bernie drove into the parking lot - looked up at the building & the honor to his wife & his eyes filled with tears. Bernie was crazy about Merci - and I loved to watch them together. Bernie was what we call a "sweetie pie" in the South. He was kind, gentle, caring and very much a gentleman. During an important time in my life, Bernie was a father figure to me. I'll never forget his encouragement and kindness. I know that Stephen, Anna and the other Pannone sons are very fortunate to have Bernie as their dad. Please know that friends in Greenwood, SC are praying for your loss - as it is also a loss for us.

Kathy Dublin

Anonymous said...

Dear Mooki, Stephen, Toby, & Yoni,
I'm sorry to hear of Bernard's passing. Sending love and strength as always from out here in California. I'm looking forward to seeing you all this spring. Love, Randy

Anonymous said...

I did not know Merci and Bernie well when they were in Greenwood, but perhaps that is the point. You didn't have to know them well for them to make an impact on you. You could see they loved each other, their family and their God and somehow that love touched all of us. They inspired us to want to better people, to be the kind of people they were.

Anonymous said...

Thinking about you all tonight here in P'ton. Much love from martha and the guys.

Anonymous said...

I was blessed to have Bernie as my Uncle and he truly was my favorite one out of all of them. He brought joy when I would go visit him and my Aunt Merci. I enjoyed being around both of them and enjoyed especially watching the deer in the backyard at their home in Greenwood. His memory will live on in each one of my cousins.