She was praised for bringing $1.4 billion in improvements to her South Sacramento District 8 through persistence and political savvy. They included flood protection, new libraries and a community center along with a light rail and street extension that opened the way for the huge Delta Shores retail and housing development.
But Pannell was also praised as a caring family person and loyal to friends and colleagues. Two dozen former and current elected officials that make up a who's who of Sacramento politics attended the event along with family and friends.
She won the seat vacated by the death if her husband, the equally dynamic Sam Pannell. She ended up serving three times longer than him, until she fell ill several years ago and retired. Pannell was 68 years old.