George Lee Pannell

October 3, 1945 – April 2, 2024

George Lee Pannell, of Smith Mountain Lake, Moneta, VA, went to be with his Lord and Savior on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 after a courageous two-year battle with prostate cancer. He was a member of the Smith Mountain Lake community for 17 years. 

He was born on October 3, 1945 in Rochester, PA. George was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and a friend to many.

George was a graduate of Aliquippa High School and graduated from Pennsylvania State University with an Associate Degree in Electrical Engineering. He was an honor graduate of the U.S. Navy Nuclear Power School and served proudly on the USS Ray (SSN653), a Sturgeon-class nuclear Submarine, as a nuclear reactor operator. While in the U.S. Navy, George received many Navy commendations and was a proud “Navy Nuc.”

After the Navy, George worked in the nuclear power industry for 52 years and was instrumental in nuclear power plant start-ups, operations, licensing, regulatory affairs, nuclear plant safety and design. At the time of his death, he was consulting with the Department of Energy, Hanford, WTP project in Richland, WA. 

George was an avid golfer and while living here at Smith Mountain Lake, he enjoyed playing with the Wednesday and Friday men’s group at the Waterfront Country Club. He loved teaching his grandsons, Logan and Daniel to play golf and playing in tournaments with his son, Kevin; and son-in-law, Michael. 

George was affectionately known by friends as “the Wizard” for his vast technical knowledge, ability to fix most anything and his help in finding solutions. He was a friend to many and always offered a hand to those in need.

He was preceded in death by a baby daughter, Christine Pannell; mother, Katherine Gray Westlake; step-father, Roy Westlake; sisters-in-law, Catherine O. Rosenlieb, Mary Louise O. Keefe; and brothers-in-law, David Rosenlieb, John L. Keefe, Jr. and Stephen T. Crnkovich.

He is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Lois O’Connor Pannell; daughter, Denise P. Shafer (Michael); son, Kevin Pannell (Wendi); grandchildren, Ellie and Daniel Bird, Sophie and Sumner Shafer, Logan, Colton and Weylyn Pannell; sister, Susan Pannell; and numerous nieces and nephews, extended family and friends.

George was a member of the local American Legion Post 62, Smith Mountain Lake. 

Per George’s wishes, there will be no service. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date. Burial will take place at Arlington National Cemetery.

The Pannell family would like to thank the nurses and staff of the Carilion Hospital Oncology, Palliative & Hospice Care Unit for their care, support and kindness shown to George and his family.

Special thank you to friends and neighbors, Bob and Linda Gillespie, Carol and Ray Perkins, Pat and Donna Massa, Kent and Josie Meeks, for their endless support, love and care during George’s illness.

For those wishing to honor or make a memorial contribution in George’s memory, please consider the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, 2361 Hylan Blvd., Staten Island, NY 10306 or the American Legion Post 62, SML to help fellow veterans.

Arrangements by Flora Funeral Service and Cremation Center, Rocky Mount – Smith Mountain Lake.