Born in Hespeler, Ontario, Panabaker studied under F. McGillivray Knowles at the Ontario College of Art, under Waymen Adams, George Ennis and Arshile Gorky at the Grand Central School of Art, New York City (1927). He also travelled and painting in Georgian Bay in Ontario, Gaspѐ, Quebec, Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, the Maritimes, the Rocky Mountains, Scotland, and in the Bahamas. Working in oil, he is known for his landscapes and floral still life. He was active in Burlington, Ancaster and Hamilton where he died. He wrote and illustrated his autobiography Reflected Lights (1957), and was a member of the Salmagundi Club in New York City and Allied Artists of America. He exhibited with the RCA in 1929-1970, and with the AAM in 1930-1945. His work is in the collections of the AGO, HAG and LAG.