John Panton

March 25, 1923April 16, 2013
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PANTON, John 1923-2013

John passed away peacefully on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 surrounded by loving family. He will be sadly missed by daughters Lisa (Michael Gaunt) and Janis (Brian Nelson); grandchildren Breton (Brandy), Alix, Geordie and Chloe; twin sister Joan Williams; sister-in-law Evelyn Panton; extended family members and the many, many friends he made over the years. John was predeceased by wife Daphne, brother Jim, sister Mary Gordon, brother-in-law Jack Gordon and brother-in-law Herb Williams. John was born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, quickly followed by twin sister Joan. When John and Joan were 13, the family moved to Kelowna, British Columbia where John finished his education and later joined the Air Force. John completed his training with the RCAF and earned his wings in 1944. He and Daphne met at the Canadian Forces base in Churchill, Manitoba and they married in Winnipeg in 1954. John and Daphne spent the first several years of their marriage traveling and working on RCAF bases, including Cold Lake, Alberta where Lisa was born. Janis was born almost 2 years later in Toronto. The family moved to Calgary in 1966 where John worked as a technical representative for Solar Gas Turbines. John and Daphne quickly built up a network of close friends in their new home town and were renowned for their hospitality. John was a loving and generous father and grandfather and was always ready to lend a hand to friends and family. John's generosity extended to the community. He gave unstintingly of his time and energy to the Lions Club for nearly 40 years, including a term as District Governor in 1985-86. He was awarded a lifetime membership and inducted into the Lions Hall of Fame in 2006. As part of his work with the Lions, John was instrumental in the start-up of STARS Air Ambulance. He continued his volunteer work with STARS from its inception in 1985 until the last year of his life. There is little doubt that John was best known for his sense of humour. He was the master of the bad pun and had a smile and a joke for everyone – even in the last weeks of his life. A Celebration of John’s Life will be held at FOSTER’S GARDEN CHAPEL, 3220 – 4 Street N.W., Calgary (across from Queen’s Park Cemetery) on Friday, April 26, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. John's family extends a special thank you to Dr. McKenna and the wonderful caring staff on Unit 46 at the Foothills Medical Centre. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made directly to STARS Air Ambulance, 1441 Aviation Park N.E., Box 570, Calgary, AB T2E 8M7 or a charity of choice in John's memory. Expressions of sympathy may be forwarded to the family via the website

FOSTER'S GARDEN CHAPEL FUNERAL HOME AND CREMATORIUM Telephone: 403-297-0888 Honoured Provider of Dignity Memorial


  • Celebration of John's Life Friday, April 26, 2013

John Panton

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Gord Jeffery

April 28, 2013

John was a man of innovation and vision. His perserverance and contributions have made this country a better place than he found it. Without the likes of John and Art from Lions, STARS might never have been born.
It was a priviledge to have known you. Rest in Peace.

April 26, 2013

All of us who had the vision of STARS will be forever in Johns debt for the efforts he made to make sure we were successful.I always enjoyed my time with him.HE WILL BE MISSED.
Dr.Rob Abernethy

April 26, 2013

It was a pleasure to know and work with John at many STARS and Lions events.

John's passion, humor and commitment to his family and community has made a difference. His dedication as a volunteer was an inspiration to many. I remember asking him one day why he enjoyed volunteering so much and he responded with "A million's a bit like being a pioneer. A good neighbour asking what can I can do for you."

He will be grealy missed.

Pamela Ison Reilander

Jim Skalk

April 24, 2013

Very few people ever get a chance to see one of their passions grow to such a wonderful, life saving endeavour. I was fortunate to meet and know John as a Lion and only later did I come to understand his contribution to others. We should all aspire to give of ourselves in the way John did, he cast a tall shadow.

April 23, 2013

Lisa, Janis & families
Our condolences to both of you and your families on the passing of your father. Our association with your dad goes back many years, first through our Lions connection, and as founding directors of STARS Air Ambulance. You can be very proud of your dad's dedication to Lions and for his commitment to STARS to ensure of its initial and continuing success. It is commitment such as his that went a long way in STARS becoming the success story it is today. Pat and I attended many Lions and STARS functions with your dad and mother, and your dad and I would often reminisce about how difficult it was to keep STARS in the air in the early years.
Unfortunately we will not be able to attend the Celebration of John's life as we will be out of the city.
Hopefully our condolence will get to both of you and your families this time as I must have pushed the wrong button as my previous message did not get through.
Art & Pat Hironaka


April 23, 2013

We were saddened to hear this week, of the passing of our beloved friend and ambassador for STARS.

John was a founding director of STARS and an incredible volunteer, humble, generous with his time, and always with great humour and stories! John can be credited with being one of the reasons STARS is here today. John was District Governor (DG) of Lions District 37-E in 1985-86 and with that role he was able to select a charity for funding and project support. John selected STARS to be his DG project after a meeting with Dr. Greg Powell and others, where he became thoroughly committed to the STARS vision and mission. The rest is history. The Lions became the founding donor and is recognized as such in perpetuity. John remained on the STARS Board of Directors until 1991/92.

John and his wife, Daphne, covered miles and miles of Alberta geography as STARS volunteers and ambassadors. He never said no to those long trips to the far reaches of the province, and as long as she could, Daphne usually accompanied him. We will all miss John, and now both Pantons, with their passing in this past year. Our thoughts and very fond memories go out to their daughters, families and extended family.

-Founder Dr. Greg Powell,Linda Powell; Andrea Robertson, President and CEO; and the entire STARS Family.

Jim Traub

April 21, 2013

I am sorry to hear of the passing of your father, I remember him as a bit of a character, a fun person always with a smile. I also recall baby sitting Lisa and Janis when I was thirteen. My thoughts are with you and I will make a donation to STARS.

April 21, 2013

Lisa & Janis,
I am saddened at the passing of your dad and sorry that I will not be in Calgary on Friday to attend the Celebration. I have many good memories of John, Daphne, Gordon and I enjoying our lives as neighbors, parents and of our children playing together, especially Lisa and Cathy.
Blessings Donna Traub

Jim Krueger

April 20, 2013

Thoughts and prayers to the family and his friends I knew and worked with him @ STARS and he and daphne left a lasting legacy

April 20, 2013

We were deeply saddened to hear of John's death, he was one of nature's gentle men. He and Daphne were very kind to us when we were new Lions making sure that we felt comfortable at some big functions. John always had a joke for us, usually poking fun at the two Brits (in a nice way), we will really miss him.
His involvement in the community was admirable and I am sure that you all must be very proud of him - we are.
We are so sorry for your loss.
Pat and John Gazzard