Maria Panella

Obituary of Maria Panella

     Maria Milagros Panella, 89, of Jacksonville, passed away Wednesday, January 3, 2018, at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield.  She was born April 27, 1928, in Cádiz, Spain, the daughter of Agustín and Maria Luisa Barquín Piñero.  She married Dr. Omar Panella on April 26, 1958, in Cádiz, Spain, and he survives.

      Mrs. Panella is survived by four children, Lusica Maria (husband, COL (R) Jim) Hankins of Lawton, Oklahoma, Emma Maria (husband, David) Westberg of Jacksonville, Omar Panella of Bethalto, and Paul (wife, Judy) Panella of New York, New York; six grandchildren, Monica Maria (fiancé, Jason Martin) Baulos and William Omar (wife, Courtney) Baulos, both of Jacksonville, Joseph Omar Hankins of Louisville, Kentucky, Terina Maria Westberg of Jacksonville, James August (wife, Laura) Hankins of Edmond, Oklahoma, and Thomas Robert (wife, Infinity) Baulos of Valparaiso, Indiana; eight great grandchildren, and two sisters, Concepcion DeGregorio of Madrid, Spain, and Dolores Julía of Cádiz, Spain.  In addition, Mrs. Panella is survived by numerous nieces and nephews and extended family with whom she remained very close, and her Cedarhurst family in Jacksonville, with whom she enjoyed seeing daily. 

      One sister, Lusi Piñero, and one brother, Agustín Piñero, preceded Mrs. Panella in death.

      Mrs. Panella and her husband moved to the United States in 1958 and he eventually established a practice in Jacksonville.  She devoted her days to raising her family and supporting her husband in his work as a physician.  As a woman of strong faith, she was a devoted member of the Church of Our Saviour where she sang in the choir and volunteered countless hours.  She was also an active member of the Altar and Rosary Society.  Maria considered herself a “professional” volunteer and faithfully served at Passavant Hospital for over 25 years. She was named Passavant’s volunteer of the year in 2002.

      Most of all, Maria was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and friend.  In addition to raising her family and supporting her husband, she became a wonderful cook.  She loved needlepoint, gardening, butterflies, and never missed a St. Louis Cardinals game.  She believed in being the first to arrive and the last to leave. 

      A funeral mass will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, at Church of Our Saviour, with burial at Calvary Cemetery.  A prayer service will be conducted at 3:45 p.m. on Monday, January 8, 2018 at the Williamson Funeral Home, where the family will meet friends from 4 to 7 p.m.  Memorials are suggested to the Routt Catholic High School/Our Saviour School Tuition Assistance Fund, or the Passavant Area Hospital Auxiliary.  Condolences may be left online at