Kenneth Panessa

January 10, 1976 — April 23, 2017

On Sunday, April 23, 2017, at 1:30 a.m., Kenneth Andrew Panessa passed peacefully after succumbing to “supra nuclear palsy,” a rare neurological disease. He was a resident of St. George, Utah, since December of 2014. Ken was born in Brooklyn, New York, on Jan. 10, 1976, to Richard and Sheila (Browne) Panessa.

Ken lived in the Flatlands and Canarsie sections of Brooklyn where he attended elementary, middle and the first year of high school before his family relocated to the small town of Warwick, New York, about 6o miles northwest of New York City. There he graduated Warwick High School as he worked at a variety of summer jobs.

Following a stint in the United States Air Force, Ken found work in the lending industry, and for over a decade, became a skilled account manager for several large home mortgage firms, including Chase and Accredited.

Kenny, throughout his life, found joy in the care of a variety of pets. He was a self-educated expert on fish, snakes, reptiles and amphibians. As a youngster, he worked part-time in a Brooklyn pet shop and became a valuable employee when it came to pet care, or instructing children on fish tank startups. We recall the critters that were housed in his own large tanks that seemed to be everywhere. Savannah monitor lizards, geckos, iguanas and of course Geronimo, a 7-foot red-tailed boa were but a few. We were always impressed with the way their enclosures were made to look just like their natural habitats.

Ken was a loyal Ozzie Osbourne fan and not only had an extensive collection of the rock star’s hits but actually attended an “Ozzie” concert a long time ago with his Cousin Sean Ward, where they were issued backstage passes and given the VIP treatment. It was a night Ken always spoke about and treasured.

Ken’s connection to his adopted dogs, Juno, a Boerboel mastive, and Max, a brindle pit bull / boxer mix was very special. Their passing due to old age broke his heart but he found new joy in our puppies, Mate and Seamus, and his sister’s lovable pit bull, Smokey. 

Ken is survived by his parents, Richard and Sheila (Browne) Panessa, his loving sister and the apple of his eye, Erin Panessa,  Aunts Linda and Elizabeth Panessa,  Uncle John and Aunt Maureen (Browne) Ward,  Cousins Brian and Lauren (Ward) English, and their daughters, Cousins Sara, Grace, and Emily,  Aunt Barbara (Browne) Schroeder,  Cousin Dawn Schroeder, Uncles Brian and Brendan Browne,  Uncle Kevin and Aunt Fran Browne, Cousins Kevin and Erin (McKay) Browne and their daughters, Cousins Stella and Mary,  Cousins Justin and Liz Browne, Cousin Patrick Browne, and of course, many friends and co-workers he touched during his shortened life.

Our family would like to give mention and much thanks to those who participated in the arduous, but tender and thoughtful care of our son. The staff of Sun Tree Home Health and Hospice, Linda Kelly, Mike Nessen, Amy Tabay, oversight physician, Dr. Howard Chamberlain, Dr. Trenton Overall and Neeta Vyes of Southwest Neurology, Dr. Phillip Hall DDS and his staff, Petersen Medical Supplies, Dr. William Esplin, Deborah Crawford, the students at Hairatage who would come to our house to trim Ken’s hair, and friends and neighbors who called or stopped by to visit during the last few years. A special thanks to Father Adrian Komar of the Saint George Roman Catholic Church for his blessings and rendering of the final sacrament. And certainly, not least, we’d like to make mention of the rapid response and the most gentle and personal attention given to Ken by the responding Sun Tree nurse, Erica Bailey, and Spilsbury director, Mark Heiner.   

Funeral services

  • There will be a remembrance at the Spilsbury Mortuary located at 110 South Bluff St., St. George, Utah, on Wednesday, April 26, at 2 p.m.
  • The family will receive visitors starting at 1:30 p.m. until time of service.

In lieu of flowers or other gifts please make donations to Sun Tree Home Health and Hospice or to a local health care facility of your choice. 

Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Spilsbury Mortuary, 435-673-2454. Friends and family are invited to sign his guestbook at

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