John Panuska, 59, of Hoschton, Georgia, passed away on June 17th after a valiant battle with pneumonia. We are saddened to announce his passing, but we are grateful for his deeply fulfilling life as husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, and friend.
John was born on April 11, 1963, to Andrew and Phyllis Panuska in Baltimore, Maryland. John grew up surrounded by four siblings, including his beloved twin. The family moved to Atlanta in 1971, and John graduated from Parkview High School in Lilburn, GA.
In his early years, you’d find John camping with friends or taking a joyride in a boat on Lake Lanier—always basking in the sun at any opportunity. In 1998, John married the love of his life Valerie McMillan Weber, and he immediately basked in the joy of Valerie’s daughters, Brittaney Simonton and Mackenzie Weber.
John and Valerie built their relationship on mutual support, and John loved any who crossed his path—human or dog alike. John’s warmth and liveliness drew everyone in, especially with his daughters and their friends. Over the last decade, he especially reserved his affectionate smile for his grandchildren, who brought him such pride and joy.
We cannot share John’s story without speaking of resilience. He was born with Muscular Dystrophy, something he bore with grace. And when he could no longer dive a car, boat, or tractor, John was happy to take his wheelchair for a spin. Five years ago, John survived an auto accident that left him paralyzed, but this accident didn’t keep him down long.
That was the kind of gentle, awe-inspiring person John was, even in the most difficult times. John was kind and fun-loving with a knack for silly puns. He really wore the title “dad” best when it came to dad jokes. John’s constant positive attitude helped him fight over the past five years, and his adoration for his family pulled him through time and time again.
We fondly remember John’s passions for playing darts and for the Atlanta Braves, and we’re thrilled he saw them win another World Series. John was truly a special person, and his spirit will live on in so many whose lives were made better by knowing him.
John is predeceased by his brother James Panuska and his father Andrew Panuska. He is survived by: his mother, Phyllis Panuska, brothers Andrew Panuska and wife Connie, Steven Panuska and wife Lisa, sister Barbara Bender and husband Greg, all his nieces and nephews, his wife of 24 years, Valerie Panuska, daughters, Brittaney Simonton and husband Matt, Mackenzie Weber and fiancé Ravi Soni, and grandchildren Elijah and Marley Simonton.
Services for John will be held Tuesday, June 21st at Lawson Funeral Home in Hoschton, GA. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to the Muscular Dystrophy Association made in John’s name JohnPanuska – Fundraising For Muscular Dystrophy Association (donordrive.com
Arrangements by Lawson Funeral Home, 4532 Hwy 53 Hoschton, Ga 30548. lawsonfuneralhome.org. 706-654-0966.