Region News


Obituary of David M Panas

David Marlyn Panas
(April 30, 1939 - January 20, 2020)

David M PanasDavid M. Panas, 80, of Oakland, NJ, passed away January 20, 2020. He was born in Peekskill, NY, on April 30, 1939, the son of Walter and Ula (Henery) Panas, raised in Shrub Oak, NY, and lived in Oakland for 58 years. He was predeceased by his parents and brother, Michael W. Panas of Wallkill, NY.
David leaves behind his loving wife of 58 years and life-long friend since 4th grade, Ileana Lenore (Bartholomew) Panas, his daughters and their husbands – Susan and Galen Clark of Prospect, KY, Sharon and Jorge Mascaró of West Milford, NJ, and his grandchildren, Matthew and Helen Clark, and Jorge and Antonio Mascaró.
David was a graduate of Lakeland High School, Mohegan Lake, NY. He graduated from Union College in Schenectady, NY, in 1959 with a BS in Civil Engineering. Upon graduation David began a career in engineering with Public Service Electric and Gas of NJ. He was a design engineer working in the Northern Division.
He enjoyed a successful career at PSE&G, with over 43 years of service as an engineer in the Gas Division, starting in July 1959. Dave retired as a Senior Engineer in June 2003 after having worked in the Pompton, Clifton, Hackensack and Newark offices. He would often proudly point out places in NJ where his work was reflected.


The purchase of his first sports car, a 1960 Triumph TR3, began Dave’s lifelong passion for sports cars and all things auto racing.

He was a member of the Jersey Sports Car Club in the 1960’s, participating in field trials and rallies. In 1964, he was instrumental in developing the JSCC Monte Carlo all night rally. Dave earned many Best Time of Day trophies in his TR3 and TR4. Later, a chance drive in a Formula Vee resulted in a change from solo driving to road racing.
Dave joined the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) in 1963 and became a life member fifty years later, in 2013. Over the years, as an active member of the Northern New Jersey Region (NNJR), he served in many capacities - rally car driver, race driver, grid, flagger, tech, competition chair, Regional Executive, operating steward, chief steward, and National Chief Steward.

David will be remembered for his passion for auto racing. He was well-known and respected in the SCCA racing community and was a tireless supporter of both SCCA Club and Pro Racing. Some notable milestones and awards in his time with SCCA include the following:

• In 1984, he was presented the NNJR William Giltzow Award for dedication and service to NNJR SCCA.
• In 1997, he helped organize the Volvo Historic Series (the predecessor to the Historic Racing Group series) and was the Chief Steward.
• In 1997, Dave was the Volvo Historic Series Worker of the Year.
• Dave continued as Chief Steward of Northeast Division’s vintage racing series: HRG - Historic Racing Group, after the Volvo Historic Series ended.
• He acted as NEDiv Council Chairman from 2004 to 2009.
• In 2004, Dave received the NEDiv Castle-Stone Stewards Award.
• Dave was also the Chief Steward for the SCCA Pro Series Formula Race Promotions (FRP), from 2006 to 2019. He was especially proud to be part of this series as it developed many young drivers who went on to higher levels of racing. Dave enjoyed following the careers of the drivers as they moved on.
• SCCA honored him at the 2015 National Convention with the David Morrell Award for outstanding performance and dedication to the sport and the highest principles. He was a mentor for a legion of new stewards, guiding their attitudes as well as their actions.

In addition to his commitment to auto racing, during the late 70’s and early 80’s, Dave enjoyed bobsledding at Lake Placid, NY. Licensed to pilot a 2-man sled from the top of the mile run, Dave spent many winter weekends at the Olympic bobsled venue, pursuing speed on the ice. Ice racing with friends in an old banged-up Fiat, brought Dave to frozen lakes in upstate New York and Pennsylvania for days of winter competition.

Besides his quest of speed, Dave was an avid NY Giants football fan and was a season ticket holder for 30 years. He also followed the NJ Devils hockey team and held season tickets for many years.

Handy at home, Dave enjoyed tackling home projects, tending his lawn, and even building rock walls. He enjoyed music and played the saxophone from elementary school through college. His interest in photography resulted in thousands of slides of car racing.

He had an ardent interest in World War II history, especially the tanks, planes and battleships of the era, and loved to visit museums and historical sites to get an up-close look at these marvels of engineering. Dave was also an avid reader of numerous auto and science magazines (especially Car & Driver and Air & Space), all things WWII and John Grisham novels, which made him a daunting opponent if you were watching Jeopardy in his presence.

A devoted husband and loving father and grandfather, Dave will be missed by his family, friends, and colleagues.

Rest in peace, Dave. Your memory will live in our hearts forever.

Casual and comfortable attire is encouraged.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the following are welcome:
• International Motor Racing Research Center
• Ponds Reformed Church