Bruce R. Panas, age 81, passed away on Friday, January 3, 2020 at Cornerstone Hospice in The Villages.
He was born November 6, 1938 in Schenectady, New York to Paul and Laura (Scranton) Panas. After graduating high school he attended a local trade school until enlisting in the US Navy in 1959. He married Bonnie Fyvie and together they had 2 sons and a daughter. Bruce spent 30 years in the Navy advancing from the lowest enlisted rank to a senior officer in the Medical Service Corps by his retirement in 1989. During his years of service he earned his bachelors and masters degrees from Cornell University. He was an exemplary sailor with several awards including the Navy Rifle & Pistol Expert, Good Conduct Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and the Navy Commendation Medal which he earned for his performance as the Medical Quality Assurance Coordinator in San Diego, California. Bruce and his family traveled frequently as they were stationed in widespread duty stations from Sicily, Italy to Rhode Island, Florida, South Carolina, New Hampshire, and California. He finished his career in the Navy as the Commanding Officer at the Naval Medical Clinic at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. After leaving the Navy Bruce and Bonnie moved to Visalia, California for a few years before retiring to The Villages, Florida.
Between being raised on a family farm in upstate New York and his 30 years service in the Navy, Bruce developed core values of hard work, loyalty, and personal sacrifice to serve a higher purpose that were evident to everyone who knew him. His early years in the Navy as an enlisted man made him the type of officer that sailors trusted and respected because of the empathy he showed them. He and Bonnie raised their children with a love and respect for their country as well as their fellow man. During his retirement ceremony one of the speakers described Bruce as the type of American who, even after years of service, still got a lump in his throat when the National Anthem is played. While Bruce was dedicated to his career, he always put his family first, often times forgoing military social events to be able to spend time with his family instead. Whether it was weekend camping trips or cross-country road trips to visit extended family, Bruce made time to make memories. He truly enjoyed his retirement years spent with Bonnie in Florida taking cruises, traveling, and participating in local activities like bowling and golf. He was loved and respected by everyone whose life he touched and he will be truly missed.
Bruce is survived by his wife Bonnie, daughter Cindy (Jay), son Ed (Shelley), and brother Alan (Joan). He was preceded in death by his parents Paul and Laura, his sister Connie, and his son Joey. His memorial service will be held on Thursday, January 23, 2020 at 1 p.m. at Bushnell National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers a donation can be made to Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (nmcrs.org).