Adrian Panther


Adrian (Ade) Panther died peacefully Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010, at Oaknoll Retirement Residence in Iowa City at age 93.  A funeral mass was celebrated Saturday, Jan. 23 at the Newman Center in Iowa City with burial in St. Joseph Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Mass offerings to a church of one’s choice or to Iowa City Hospice. Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service in Iowa City was in charge of arrangements.

Adrian Benedict Panther was born Jan.17, 1917, to Frank and Frances (Beckman) Panther near West Point. The family moved to Mount Pleasant where he attended St. Alphonsus grade and high schools. He attended Wesleyan College before transferring to the University of Iowa on a track scholarship.  In 1938 he began his career in the restaurant business at Hamburg Inn No. 1 on Iowa Avenue in Iowa City. He later operated Big Ten Inn, the Cloud Room at the Iowa City Airport, Hamburg Inn on Center Point Road in Cedar Rapids, and the Coralville Maid Rite.

Adrian married Margaret Frances Freeman at St. Mary’s Church in Iowa City on Oct. 27, 1941.  Margaret passed away May 21, 1978, and soon after Adrian retired from the restaurant business to enter the first class of the Davenport Diocese Diaconate program. He was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate on December 13, 1980.  He first assisted at St. Mary’s Church in Iowa City, and in 1983 joined Father Eugene Benda in a full-time position at St. Patrick’s Church.  In 1989 they were transferred to St. Mary’s Church in Tipton, and in 2004 to St. Mary’s, Mechanicsville, before retiring in 2007.

Although he deeply loved all his family and was a loving husband and devoted caretaker to his wife, Adrian’s greatest devotion was to his faith, and his years as a deacon were filled with joy and satisfaction.  He was a 4th degree Knight of Columbus and his favorite pastime was playing cards, especially euchre and bridge.


Adrian is survived by two sons: Robert (Sherrie) of Iowa City and James (Carmel) of Malanda, Australia.  He is also survived by three grandchildren: Paul (Amy) Panther and Devon (Kevin) Light of Phoenix, and Phillip (Jill) Panther of Chicago; six great-grandchildren, David and Emily Panther, Parker and Mallory Light, and Gabriella and Alexis Panther; and many nephews and nieces. Adrian was preceded in death by his parents and wife; two brothers, Joseph and Francis; and three sisters, Leona Fitzpatrick, Mary Genevieve O’Connor, and Bernadine Panther.

The family would like to express its appreciation to the staff of Oaknoll for their long-time care and loving support.Online condolences may be directed to

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