Ignazio Panebianco, a well-known Westmont restaurateur, died Monday after battling brain tumors for a decade.
The native of Italy passed away at Windber Hospice.
Panebianco, 46, owned Numero Uno eatery in the Westwood Plaza. He held a master’s degree in music and played the trombone. Later in life, he became a self-taught artist and created numerous pencil portraits. Panebianco was a member of Our Mother of Sorrows.
“For our community, this is a big deal that he passed away. ... I think people fed off his faith. I think he gave people faith in their lives,” said OMOS pastor, the Rev. Mark Begly.
Mary Borkow, a family friend, called him “probably one of the most kind, gentle men I ever met.”
He was survived by his wife, Ivana (Ferrau) Panebianco, and their four children.
“Ignazio was not just my son-in-law, he was the son I never had,” said his father-in-law, Salvatore Ferrau, in a statement. “I love him so much, words cannot express it.
“He was the most special person in the world.”
Friends and family members recalled how he handled his illness with good spirits and deep faith. “He taught us lifelong lessons. He never complained. He never gave up,” said his wife.
Close friend Mark Pasquerilla, CEO of Pasquerilla Enterprises, added, “Ignazio was a great guy. I think he became kind of a spiritual role model. ... He was one of the simple saints. He just had faith, and that’s what carried him.”
A fund has been established for his children, the Ivana Panebianco Family Agency Account.
“We thought that would be the best way to honor him,” said Pasquerilla.
Anybody interested in contributing to the account can visit friendsofignazio.com.
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