Father Robert E. Panek

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Father Robert E. Panek, who served as pastor of St. Charles Borromeo parish in Gardiner for 12 years, died Oct. 31 in Montrose. He was 77.

Father Panek was pastor of St. Charles Borromeo, 2001-2013.

A Funeral Mass was celebrated Nov. 8 at St. Charles Borromeo. Auxiliary Bishop Edmund Whalen was the celebrant and Father Patrick Dunne delivered the homily.

Father Dunne and Father Panek met in 1958 as freshmen at Cathedral College in Manhattan, and the friendship continued through St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie. The two were ordained by Cardinal Terence Cooke in 1970.

Father Panek retired as pastor of St. Charles Borromeo due to health reasons in 2013.

“He was clearly very much loved (at St. Charles Borromeo), and he loved the people there,” Father Dunne said.  “He fought a good fight and he’s home now in God’s Kingdom.”

Father Dunne visited Father Panek over the summer and continued to speak with him regularly.

“We talked about different things and the old days. It was a trip down memory lane,” Father Dunne said.

Born in Mount Vernon, Father Panek earned bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and  theology.

He was parochial vicar of St. Catherine Laboure, Lake Katrine, 2001; St. Casimir, Yonkers, 1989-1992 and 1980-1986; and Sacred Heart, Mount Vernon, 1970-1980. He was a U.S. Navy chaplain, 1992-2001 and 1986-1989.

Burial was in St. Charles Borromeo Cemetery, Gardiner.