Photography by Kim Kroupa
Meet Bob and Jo Panter. They reside on East Shore Road along with Suzie, their 120-pound Bernese Mountain Dog, and SooFee, their Ragdoll cat. They are the proud owners of a historic award-winning barn.
The Panters have called Old Mission home since 1963, moving to their current house in 1973. What is their favorite part about living on Old Mission? Jo says, “First of all, it is the natural beauty of the township as well as the rural legacy of the farms. In spite of the development that we have seen in the years of our residency, it still seems like a neighborhood.”
Bob and Jo are both retired TCAPS teachers/administrators. Bob was a teacher and then principal of Old Mission Peninsula School for 23 years; Jo was a high school English teacher and then a K-12 Curriculum Coordinator for TCAPS. She also taught graduate classes for MSU and Spring Arbor University. In 1982 they opened Rainbow Bookstore, which they sold in 2005. Bob currently works part-time at Lowe’s and Jo is an organist at a local church and teaches in a not-for-profit educational organization.
Bob is originally from Dearborn, where he attended the Edison Institute, a private school established by Henry Ford, located in Greenfield Village. Jo grew up on a farm and attended a one-room school K-8, and graduated from Blissfield High School in Lenawee County. They both did their undergraduate and master’s degrees at Michigan State.
They are blessed with two daughters: Cindy (Panter) Lardie and Jenifer (JP) Panter. They both graduated from Western Michigan and did graduate work at MSU. Cindy lives in Traverse City with her husband, Ted, and their 9-year-old son, Max. She left teaching Honors English at the Junior High to work in marketing, previously at TBA Credit Union and currently as the Marketing Director of Becky Thatcher Designs.
Jenifer is a watercolor and calligraphy artist residing in Napa, California. Her calligraphy work has been featured in the Martha Stewart Wedding Magazine and her watercolors at Yosemite National Park.
When they aren’t spending time with family, Bob and Jo have a number of pastimes. Bob has been active in local running races and car shows where he exhibits his 1929 Ford truck. Jo enjoys playing the piano, organ, harp and reading. They enjoy taking road trips in the area and the UP. They have also traveled extensively in Canada and Europe, as a part of Jo’s work as an international retail consultant.
Family traditions are near and dear to their hearts. Jo explains, “Every year for my wedding anniversary, Bob plans a mystery trip. We’ve been married for 55 years and Bob has been planning mystery trips for at least the past 20 years.” Jo is looking forward to their August wedding anniversary when another exciting mystery trip will take place!
“I never know where we are going,” says Jo. “It’s all a surprise.” Bob puts limericks in individual envelopes which act as clues to their destination. Jo tries to guess where they are going, which is a lot of fun. Not to mention a way to make memories to cherish for years to come.
They have been to Killarney, Canada; Duluth, Minnesota; and have gone to several places in Wisconsin and every place in the Upper Peninsula. Where will they go next? Only time will tell.
Since the time of this article, Bob and Jo decided it was time to put their home and property) that includes the historic barn) up for sale. Click for details here.
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