Crawford resident Theodore "Doc" Michael Panish died of radiation poisoning following years of cancer treatments Jan. 28, 2016. He was 72.
He was born in Norfolk, Va., Aug. 19, 1943, to Kathleen (Farrell) and Theodore Panish. His parents died when he was very young. He grew up in Peoria, Ill., and graduated from Peoria High School in 1961.
Mr. Panish graduated from Southern Illinois University with a master's degree in art and a major in philosophy in 1968. He received a doctorate in philosophy -- hence the nickname, "Doc" -- from the University of Missouri in 1970. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from Colorado State University in 1971, and his teaching certification from North Carolina University.
Mr. Panish moved to the North Fork Valley in 1980, and in 1981 began a 24-year career teaching English at Hotchkiss High School. He moved to Crawford in 1985.
He coached girls', boys' and middle school basketball and headed the Knowledge Bowl team. He took the girls' basketball team to the state championships in 1985 and the Knowledge Bowl team won a state championship in 1996. He retired from teaching in 2005 and coached the Knowledge Bowl team until 2006.
He owned property in Alaska and took his sons fishing there every summer. He appreciated Native American culture and was adopted into the local tribe. He understood math well and was a teacher and mentor to many.
Mr. Panish is survived by two sons, Kenai and River, both of Crawford.
A celebration of life was held Feb. 6 at Hotchkiss High School. Mr. Panish's ashes will be scattered along the Kenai River in Alaska.
A memorial fund has been established at First State Bank of Colorado. Contributions may be made at any of the Delta County branches.
The seventh annual Eckert Crane Days, the annual viewing of the sandhill cranes migrating north from New Mexico through Colorado's West Slope, will be March 16-18. Representatives from the Black Canyon Chapter of the Audubon Society (BCAS) will be at the viewing site east of Eckert at Fruitgrowers Reservoir, 9 to 11 a.m. each day, to answer questions and provide binoculars and spotting scopes.