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Charles S. "PJ" Panek

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Charles S. "PJ" Panek
Lowell Police Officer

DRACUT -- Charles S. "PJ" Panek, 30, a Lowell Police Officer who resided in Dracut but formerly a lifelong resident of Pelham, died Saturday evening, July 23rd in Tyngsboro as a result of a boating mishap on the Merrimack River. He was the beloved son of Charles J. and Sandra L. (Arsenault) Panek of Pelham who survive him.

Born in Lowell, June 8, 1981, he attended Pelham schools and was a graduate of Pelham High School in the Class of 1999. As a young man growing up in Pelham, he was a member of the Cub Scouts Pack 25 in Pelham and then the Boy Scouts Troop 25 of Pelham/Windham where he achieved the highest possible rank of Eagle Scout.

Upon graduation from high school, PJ enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served from 1999 to 2003 with the 2nd Marine Division Force Recon. After his Honorable Discharge from the Marine Corps, he continued his education and graduated from U-Mass Lowell in just three years from 2003 to 2006 with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Criminal Justice. After college, PJ went on to graduate from the Police Academy in 2006 and joined the Lowell Police Department where he served until the present. He was awarded the Medal of Valor for his heroics disarming and arresting an armed man without use of deadly force in 2008. Having the urge to continue serving his country, he joined the U.S. Army National Guard in 2007, and was deployed to Iraq and served undercover in the U.S. military's Strategic Counterintelligence Division until 2008. He volunteered to deploy with his National Guard unit to the Middle East, scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan in November of this year. Upon his return from Iraq, he furthered his education earning a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice at U-Mass Lowell in 2009. An expert marksman who won awards with the Marines, he was also a Marksmanship Instructor for the Lowell Police Department and the U.S. Marine Corps.

PJ was a lifelong car and motorcycle enthusiast building cars and Harley-Davidson motorcycles from the frame up. He enjoyed the outdoors and was a hunter who bagged a moose when he was just 15 years old with his dad. He was also an accomplished boxer. He loved traveling, vacationing often in Brazil, the Caribbean, Hawaii, southern California and Florida. He loved to make a good time and had an uncanny ability to make everyone laugh. In his mother's own words, "He probably did more in 30 years than most people do in their lifetimes."
Besides his parents Charles and Sandra, PJ is survived by his brother and best friend Thomas C. Panek of Pelham; a nephew Thomas William Panek of Pelham; his dearest girlfriend Jessica Sousa of Dracut; and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

PANEK -- In Tyngsboro, MA, July 23, 2011, Charles S. "PJ" Panek, 30, of Dracut, formerly of Pelham, beloved son of Charles J. and Sandra L. (Arsenault) Panek of Pelham. Friends may call at the PELHAM FUNERAL HOME, 11 NASHUA RD. in PELHAM from 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday. Relatives and friends are invited to attend his Funeral Mass Friday morning at ST. PATRICK CHURCH in PELHAM at 11 o'clock. Burial at the Gibson Cemetery in Pelham. In lieu of flowers, those wishing may make contributions in his memory to the Pelham Cub Scouts Pack 25, c/o Randy Cook, 31 Ledge Road, Pelham, NH 03076 or the Pelham/Windham Boy Scouts Troop 25, c/o Debbie Marcotte, 34 Old Gage Hill Road, Pelham, NH 03076. E-condolence/directions at www.pelhamfuneralhome.com. Arrangements by Funeral Directors, John W. Crane and James F. O'Donnell, Jr. (603) 635-3333.

Published in Lowell Sun on July 27, 2011
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