Nancy Panico


Nancy K. "Pantyhose" Panico made her journey to the other side painlessly in her sleep at the CHP Defiance Area In-Patient Hospice Center in Defiance, the afternoon of Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014.

After fighting a short yet incredibly tough battle with cancer, she made her peace with God and went home to rest just in time to snag a side line view of the Super Bowl. She carried a heart of gold and was adored by anyone and everyone whose life intertwined with her own. Her infectious smile and generous, kind-hearted nature could illuminate the darkest of rooms.

Nancy was a class of '74 graduate of Hicksville High School. "Pantyhose" or "Vern" as some of her co-workers called her, worked her hands to the bones as a pattern maker at General Motors Powertrain of Defiance. Retiring after 37.2 years of service in April of 2012, she spent the majority of her retirement volunteering for the local Multiple Sclerosis events and Kaitlyn's Cottage. Nancy was everyone's "go-to lady." Her friends were as much family to her as anyone else and if you ever needed something, anything, she was always there to help in any way she could. She used her free time doing what she did best. Spreading her love and compassion for people of all walks of life.

Preceded in death by her grandparents, Rev. Charles "Doc" and Audry "Liz" Barkley; her uncle, Bob; and aunts, Betty and Linda Barkley, all of Knoxville, Tenn.; grandparents, Ray and Lucille Waters; as well as countless friends over the years.

Nancy is survived by her two daughters, Kori L. Panico of Antwerp and Brittany E. McDonald of Defiance; mother, Mary K. (Barkley) Stevens; brothers, Gary, Lindsay and John Stevens; and sisters, Mary Sue Jordan and Kathy (Stevens) Moore; as well as her dearest nieces and nephews; Melissa, Heather, Morgan, Jessica, Travis, Josh, Jacob, John Jr. and "Bud," all of Knoxville, Tenn. Also surviving are her father, Bill Waters; stepmother, Donna Rocky; brothers, Bill and Jack Waters; and sister, Amy Waters; as well as her beloved nieces and nephews, McKenna, Rachel, Ben, Sam and Jake, all of Fort Wayne, Ind.; as well as many, many friends she considered family.

Per Nancy's last wishes, she will be cremated and instead of the traditional funeral, her desire was to have a celebration of her life. As she liked to call it, "an Irish wake." There will be a memorial service held in her honor at the UAW Local 211 Hall, 1820 Baltimore Road, in Defiance on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. Family and friends may arrive beginning at 2 p.m. to share stories, and a dinner at 4 p.m.

Any donations are deeply appreciated and should be made to the daughters. Online condolences may be left at

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