May 28, 2022

Death of Caymanian Gurney Panton

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Gurney PantonIt is with much regret we have to announce the death of well known businessman, seaman and wireless operator, Gurney A. W. Panton, who died on Boxing day (Dec 27) in the Cleveland Clinic, Florida, USA after an illness. He is survived by his wife, Cecil Panton.

Mr. Panton was born in Grand Cayman and the following (and photos) are taken from an article found on the Cayman Seafarers website (

Gurney A. W. Panton, from Grand Cayman. Gurney had shown an interest and dexterity in Wireless Telegraphy as a youngster and became proficient in Morse Code. When he left the Cayman High School in 1953 he was sent by his father, the late Albert C. (Mr. Bertie) Panton at age 17 to join the SS Bulk Petrol as Officers Messman. His first trip was from 156Pan-R1-E022Newport News, Virginia to the Arabian Gulf via the Suez Canal. When Egypt nationalised the Canal in 1956 it became necessary to make the Gulf voyage via the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, which added weeks to the return journey.
Gurney was subsequently promoted to Wireless Officer on the SS Bulkpetrol and also served on the SS William R. Tolbert and SS Petrolene in that capacity.

He also worked at the old Wireless Station along with the late Leighton Christian, John Franklin Bodden and present Member Lennie Hew. He also did a stint with Cable and Wireless and is a HAM Operator.

Gurney - ELAP-1It might be of interest to some that Gurney was manning the Radio and receiving messages from the New York Office when the unexpected item “regret to advise…” came over the wire that his father passed away the evening before on 11th. November, 1956. He tells me that he stopped the transmission and went out onto the Poop Deck for a while to absorb the news and compose himself before returning to complete the full transmission. His ship, the SS Ore Convey was then off Puerto Rico and so he could not get home to attend the funeral.

Mr. Panton founded Island Interiors Ltd. in 1968, with his wife Cecile, and was Hon. Treasurer of the Cayman Islands Seafarers Association. Their son, Wayne Panton, is a lawyer and is currently Minister of Financial Services, Commerce and Environment in the Cayman Islands government.

iNews Cayman sends condolences to all members of the Panton family and friends.

Gurney A. W. Panton RIP.

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