Nick was born on May 20, 1942 in Brooklyn, New York to his father James and mother Elli who gave birth six years prior to brother, Alex in 1936. The brothers grew up very closely. Shortly after Nick was born, Elli became a single parent. She worked hard to provide every need for her boys. Elli put her sons first, always. The three of them were very close and protective of each other. On the weekends, she would treat the young boys to french toast and bring them home their favorite dessert from the bakery, 20 cherry turnovers when she realized her sons were growing taller than her. They were very active in church, sports, basketball, stick ball, monopoly, and enjoyed being home playing board games.
In June 1960, Nick graduated from Boys High School, Summa cum laude, Brooklyn, New York, achieving 96.83 grade point average, entitling Nick to the second place slot on the scholastic Hall of Fame.
Elli had been praying and was relieved when Nick was awarded an academic State scholarship to attend Boy High School. Nick became sports editor of the senior recorder at Boys High School, calling his column, Panos Panorama. He became Arista society leader 3-year cup. He was awarded first- and second-year medals during his time at Boys High. Nick played three years of varsity basketball.
Nick was accepted to the Ivy league University, Columbia in New York. He graduated with honors from Columbia University in 1964 with Bachelor's Degree in Engineering.
Nick accepted a job offer from General Dynamics in San Diego, California which brought him to the west coast and later brought his mother Elli Panos with him.
At General Dynamics, Nick's supervisor Lloyd Board gave him his first project named RATER. This was a program developed to rate the mental capacity of the astronauts in space.
Nick started teaching at San Diego State University in 1964 while he was getting his own masters degree from the San Diego State University, San Diego.
In 1966, Nick earned his Master's Degree in Computer and Electrical Engineering.
One Easter Sunday, Nick and his mother traveled to Los Angeles to attend Greek Easter at the Greek Apostolic Church of Los Angeles. That is where he was introduced to Freida Diamond by a mutual friend. Nick started courting Freida all the while commuting from San Diego to Pasadena on the weekends. After a few months, he asked her father, Nathan Diamond for his daughter's hand in marriage. They were married on January 29, 1972.
In addition to Nick's career as Professor at SDSU, he was hired by the U.S. Navy for consulting throughout his career. One of the contracts was to develop AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control Systems) aviation, for example E-2 Hawkeye aircraft. This all-weather, long-range radar surveillance would be used to defend our country. It is equipped with powerful sensors to spot distant enemy aircrafts, which you may have seen, as these can be spotted with a large disc mounted on top that dwarfs the size of the aircraft.
In 1994, Nick got involved with a new project called Defense Conversion at San Diego State University. Nick wrote proposals to received grants and federal funding for the University. These grants provided the Engineering department to use the curriculum that Nick designed for training employees for engineering jobs. This newly developed curriculum was used immediately to train people who were laid off of defense industry positions. Nick was instrumental in preparing government employees for civilian jobs.
In 2001, Nick retired after 35 years of research and teaching in the School of Engineering at SDSU. He was honored with Professor Emeritus title and a retirement party by his colleagues. His kids still remember the days they got to "go to school with Papa." They got to meet their father's colleagues, see his office, lab, and lecture hall in which their father worked. This is when Nick and Freida took time to travel and take in a few cruises.
After retirement, Nick was able to devote much more time caring for his mother. The loving son that he was, he did not hesitate to get his mother involved in helpful social and aging programs in her later years.
After Nick retired from San Diego State University, he was asked to lead the Bible study group at First Assembly of God, San Diego, California. Nick would study and prepare using his Biblical commentaries from his vast library at home to prepare an in-depth Bible study for the class. He took much pleasure in preparing these studies every week for 11 years.
A few years went by with both Nick and Freida considering their options for moving out of state. They had a list of states that they were considering. In late 2018 they decided on Idaho. In March 2019, they decided to have a home built in Nampa, Idaho.
Early 2019, Nick felt out of breath going upstairs to Silver Sneakers at Nick and Freida's neighborhood gym. Nick was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. He discussed many options with his pulmonologist and decided to undergo PTE, Pulmonary Thrombendarterectomy to remove blood clots from his lungs.
Nick had the PTE, an 11-hour surgery at UCSD Medical Center, La Jolla, California. He was in the ICU for three days with Freida by his side. After four weeks of recovering, he was finally discharged, and he recovered more comfortably at home, with the use of oxygen. In mid-2019, both Nick and Freida decided to make the trip to their new home in Nampa, Idaho.
They found a church nearby to attend. They began to settle down in their new small agricultural town. Nick and Freida would take long drives discovering new places. On the way, they would see sheep, goats, horses and cows grazing in fields, they would talk about how tall the corn fields were getting, which is not too far from the lake near their house where Nick loved to watch and feed the ducks and geese. They were enjoying this quiet, slower pace of life.
In December 2021, Nick started to struggle with his breathing, even though he was continuously using oxygen. By January 2022, Nick continued to struggle. He lost more weight during this time. His doctor recommended a feeding tube procedure but, Nick was not up for another invasive surgery. He had the fight in him to keep going, but his body was stressed from the hypertension. Nick was so cautious about his health that he never got covid, not even a cold. Nick got to celebrate his 80th birthday in May 2022. When Nick decided a feeding tube was his only hope for gaining weight, he was told he was not eligible, due to so much weight loss and dangerously thin blood viscosity.
Nick went to be with the Lord on August 17, 2022, surrounded by Freida, Nicole, Celeste and Alex. The time was peaceful and calm, singing hymns, praying, sharing stories, and comforting Nick around the clock. He had us by his side and was never left alone. Nick's big brother Alex, who lives in upstate New York, and unable to travel, was on the phone with Nick so that Nick could hear his brother's comforting, reassuring voice.
Throughout this health ordeal, Nick never lost his sense of humor and positive attitude for what God was showing him. During the last few months, Nick found himself growing in a deeper relationship with Jesus. He was at peace and told Freida he was ready to meet his Saviour.
One of the last things that Nick emphasized to his family was:
"Get the Jesus thing right, so we can all be together".
Nick's mother, Elli Panos preceded him in death in August 2005. Nick is survived by brother, Alex Panos (and wife Susan) of Stone Ridge, New York; Freida Panos of Nampa, Idaho; Nicole Steele (and husband Adam) of Clarksburg, Maryland; Celeste Panos of Nampa, Idaho; and Alex Panos (and wife Leah) of San Diego, California.