So the Funeral for Lisa Panakio Rowe was yesterday, July 21, 2015.
She was 58 years old when cancer mercilessly swept the life from her body.
We knew she was going to die for the past four weeks or so.... and so did she. She was so strong in the face of death. Flipped the bird at it. Death held no power over her. She said she was not afraid to die, and had a good life with Harvey and her family. It was not an epithet. It was a genuine statement.
One of her last words to Joanne and me was that "Life is a Blessing." Staring at death, she celebrated her life.
There are so many things that you could say about Lisa and the way she looked at life. You always wanted to share with her the stuff that was happening to you. She would be happy and buoyant for the good stuff, and stood by you with support and loyalty when you talked about the things that were pissing you off.
And she shared freely anything that was on her mind..... always with a keen sense of humor about things. So many times, Joanne's cell phone would beep, and Joanne would get at smile on her face. When I asked, "What are you smiling about?", her answer would be..."Text from Lisa." She liked to call Joanne, "Dousher" and liked to call her stepson, Mark, "Fark". Yet it was impossible to get irritated with her.
She supported Harvey and the incredible charitable work that he has spearheaded at My Brother's Table, Kentucky, Ecuador.... all leading to his inclusion in the Knights of Malta Catholic Order. Even though she was irreverent about some of these things in her quips to Joanne and I, we always knew that this was her alter-ego trying to get a rise from us, and she firmly stood by the great work that Harvey has undertaken... and was so proud of Harvey's kids and Grandkids, who she loved and embraced as her own.
She was a joyful, funny, funny person.
And a steadfast, loyal, cherished friend, a loving wife, and a caring Nana.
Right now, the hole that she has left in our lives is a huge, gaping chasm. I suppose that the sense of hurt and loss will abate one of these days. But not today.... and probably not for a long freaking time.
I'm pretty sure that she scored a place in Heaven, and is celebrating with her parents Lou and Marcia as I type this.
But we are still sad to see you go Lisa,
This is her Obit from the Lynn Daily Evening Item
LYNN — Mrs. Lisa Panakio Rowe, 58 years old, of Lynn, died Wednesday, July 15, 2015 in Lynn after a brief illness. She was the adored wife of Harvey Rowe, with whom she shared 30 years of marriage.
Lisa was born and raised in Lynn, the daughter of the late Louis J. Panakio and the late Marcia Panakio. She was a graduate of St. Mary’s High School and a graduate of St. Michael’s College in Vermont.
Lisa was a devoted parishioner of St. Pius Church and a volunteer for the Society of St. Vincent DePaul and My Brother’s Table in Lynn, both close to her heart. She was also a supporter of the Knights of Malta and their particular mission in Lourdes, France, as well as their countless works of charity throughout the world. Lisa’s 2014 pilgrimage to Lourdes was a recent highlight in her life.
The City of Lynn and its betterment was her special concern. As a longtime board member of the Economic Development and Industrial Corporation, Lisa was grateful for her chance to serve the city, proud of Lynn’s growing arts community and business sector and pleased to help be a champion of the Lynn-Boston ferry. A lifelong athlete, Lisa was a former member of both the St. Michael’s College Ski Team and Field Hockey Team. Over the years, Lisa developed a treasured community of friends from the health and fitness world. Spending many years in Naples, Fla., as a water skier in Lake Winnipesaukee, and avid skier on the slopes of Loon Mountain, Lisa had many friends in whatever communities she touched. Furthermore, she loved to travel and her easygoing, engaging personality developed friendships wherever she would go.
Lisa was the co-owner of Panakio Adjusters in Lynn. As a public adjuster, she enjoyed being a staunch advocate for families and business owners throughout New England and in Florida, and she was an innovator in property/casualty assessment methodologies.
Above all, Lisa was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother. She enjoyed a rich, vibrant life with husband and business partner, Harvey Rowe, experiencing the joys and laughter for many years, side-by-side. Her children and grandchildren will remember her always for the love, courage, wisdom and counsel she gave them; her fun-loving, joyful nature; her positive energy and her unforgettable smile. She’s our angel now.
Lisa is survived by her husband, Attorney Harvey F. Rowe Jr. of Lynn, and her brother, Jay Panakio of Lincoln, N.H.; her children, Melissa Sherwood and her husband Norm of Marblehead, Mark Rowe and his wife Jenna of Marblehead and daughter, Shannon Gardner of Lynn; her grandchildren, Lily Gardner, Maeve and Tegan Sherwood, Maren, Violet and Wesley Rowe; her niece, Kelsey Panakio of Lynn, and her nephew, John Panakio of Lincoln, N.H., and many cherished friends from near and far.
Service information: Her funeral will be held on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. from the SOLIMINE Funeral Home, 67 Ocean St. (Route 1A), Lynn, followed by a funeral Mass in St. Pius V Church, Lynn at 10:30 a.m. Burial will be in Pine Grove Cemetery, Lynn. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited. Visiting hours are on Monday from 3-7 p.m. Donations may be made to My Brothers Table, Attn: Donations, 98 Willow St., Lynn, MA 01901 and the Society of Saint Vincent DePaul.