June 8, 1934 – April 5, 2019
Dr. Joseph B. Pantera, who maintained a dental practice in Lackawanna for more than 50 years, died April 5 in his Orchard Park home after a two-year battle with complications from leukemia. He was 84.
Born in Lackawanna, the oldest of four children, he was a 1952 graduate of Lackawanna High School and earned his degree in dental surgery from the University of Buffalo Dental School in 1959. He received a fellowship at the dental school associated with Children’s Hospital.
He enlisted in the Air Force and held the rank of captain as he served for two years as a dentist at Selfridge Air Force Base near Detroit, Mich.
Following his discharge, Dr. Pantera remodeled the front of his childhood home at 580 Ridge Road, Lackawanna, into an office where he received patients until 2013. His wife, the former Doris J. Kij, whom he married in 1960, was his first dental assistant.
He did considerable charity work for the St. Apollonia Guild, providing treatment to priests and nuns, and for the Erie County Medical Arts Society.
He was a member of the Eighth District Dental Society, the Erie County Dental Society and Matthew Glab Post 1477, American Legion. He also competed in the Buffalo City Dental Bowling League.
An outstanding golfer who, according to his son, Thomas, “never took a lesson,” he won championships at South Park Golf Course in 1952, 1957 and 1959, and played in the 1955 NCAA golf championship in Knoxville, Tenn. He was inducted into the South Park Golf Hall of Fame in 1997.
He was the Selfridge Air Force Base golf champion in 1962 and was invited to play that year in the Air Defense National Championship at Pebble Beach, Calif.
In 1966, he became the only South Park golfer to ever win the Buffalo District Golf Association’s individual title. He was a founding member of Crag Burn Golf Club in 1969. He also was a member of the WNQ (We Never Quit) Golf League.
An Orchard Park resident since 1968, he was devoted to his Polish heritage and his Catholic faith. He was a longtime parishioner of Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church.
He enjoyed history, nature, conservation and collecting model trains.
He also was a longtime Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres season ticket holder.
In addition to his wife, survivors include two sons, Thomas and Joseph F.; two daughters, Lynn Jentsch and Susann Pantera; a sister, Lorraine Wahl; and five grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial was offered April 11 in Nativity of Our Lord Church, 26 Thorn Ave., Orchard Park.