Robert “Bob” Louis Banks, 92, of Mapleton, Iowa, passed away Friday, August 7, 2020 at Maple Heights Nursing Home, Mapleton, Iowa.
A Public Memorial Visitation will be 5:00 - 7:00 P.M. Sunday, August 16, 2020 with a prayer service at 6:30 P.M. at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Mapleton, Iowa. (Social distancing measures must be followed- Masks are required) A Private Family Memorial Service will be held at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Mapleton, Iowa with Reverend Christopher J. LaBoube officiating. Burial will follow in Mount Hope Cemetery, Mapleton, Iowa with Military Honors provided by the United States Navy and the Loren Hollister American Legion Post #496 of Mapleton, Iowa. Arrangements are under the direction of Rush Family Care Service, Onawa, Iowa.
Robert Louis “Bob” Banks was born August 7, 1928 at the home of his parents, Ed and Dorothy (Marshall) Banks, near Moville, Iowa. He was named after his maternal grandfather, Robert Marshall and his dad’s brother, Louis Banks. He was called Bob by his friends but always called Robert by his immediate family. He had curly red hair & brown eyes. They lived in the Climbing Hill area where he started attending country school. The family moved to the Oto area. In 1945 his parents purchased a farm near Mapleton. Bob always loved being outside and “helping” his dad at an early age. His dad said that by the age of 10 Bob could back up a tractor & wagon as good or better than any man. When he graduated from the 8th grade he decided to stay home and help on the farm instead of going on to high school, something a lot of farm boys did especially during World War II. At the age of 18 he bought a truck and had his own business hauling grain & livestock, helping people move from one farm to another, & even hauled ice as many people in the rural areas did not have electricity, so they kept their food cold in ice boxes.
In 1950 the Korean War began and with the draft board getting close to inducting him into the Army he decided to enlist in the United States Navy. He left in October 1950 to go to basic training in San Diego, California. After basic training he was sent to Hunters Point in San Francisco. His first duty was to help take ships out of “moth ball fleet” in Alameda, California. The ships that he helped put back into service for the Korean War were the Wasp, The Hornet, and the USS Iowa. With that work finished he was reassigned to the Bake Shop at Hunters Point, where he helped feed the men on base. After a brief leave at which time he went home for a visit he was assigned to the USS Eldorado, a communication ship. He was assigned once again to the bake shop. After a stop in Pearl Harbor, they were on their way to Japan when the ship was hit by a typhoon. One area of the ship’s hull suffered a huge crack and water poured in…Fortunately, they were able to close off the damaged area and continue on to Japan for repairs.
When back in service after a month in dry dock they headed for Korea where they spent the rest of the tour in & out of Korea. After the cease fire, the ship was involved in the exchange of prisoners of war. Bob was reassigned to the USS Pickaway in San Diego where he stayed until his discharge in August 1954. He returned to Iowa to begin farming with his father.
In the spring of 1955, he planted his first crop. It was a very dry year & harvest was very slim. In 1954 he renewed a courtship with the love of his life and asked her to marry him. He got a job at the Sioux City Stockyards with the Steele Simon Commission Company. He started in August 1955 and he and Bonnie Namanny were married on November 12, 1955. They lived and worked in Sioux City until February 1957 when they decided to go to San Francisco to seek their fortune. Bob went to welding school briefly on the GI Bill and during Summer break he was offered a job by Bill Bachman in his welding shop. In 1959 they bought their first new car, a 1959 Edsel. In 1960 they bought their first home in Daly City, a suburb of San Francisco. He completely remodeled the house. In October of 1961 Robin Louise joined the family. Bonnie quit her job to be a full-time mom. Bob continued to work for Bachman Welding until February 1965 when they decided to return to Iowa to farm. In 1970 they purchased the farm from his uncle, Louis Banks. There was so much to do- fences and yards to build, cement to pour, buildings to repair or remodel, waterlines and waterers to install, as they wanted to raise hogs and feed cattle, as well as plant and harvest crops.
These were busy years- 1970 to 1980, and much was accomplished. Bob was a member of the COOP board of directors, an usher, greeter, and elder at church. He and Bonnie were active in the Pork and Beef Producers and helped on various committees and celebrations in the community. Bob was active in the American Legion Loren Hollister Post, serving as Commander and Sergeant-At- Arms- marching in parades, serving at funerals, and planning and helping with fundraisers.
Then in the mid 1980’s the farm crisis struck-low prices for crops and livestock & high interest. It was hard, if not impossible to make a profit. Most of the ink was red. They switched from feeding cattle to starting a cow/calf herd and continued farrowing and feeding out the hogs. They became very active in the Farm Crisis Committee where they met other farmers and helped each other survive the crisis.
It was in 1980 good friends, Chuck and Joyce Lusch from Navy days called to ask what Bonnie and Bob were doing for their 25th anniversary. It was decided to go to Niagara Falls. Almost every year after that they traveled together on vacation, going to Colorado, South Dakota, Arizona, New Mexico, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Alaska, Florida, Michigan, and Canada- sometimes in the campers.
In 1990 Bob decided to go on social security so he rented out the farm on a share crop basis and continued raising cattle and hogs. When they said their final goodbyes to the livestock, Bob took up woodworking, gardening, and mowing their large lawn. He shared his wood creations with relatives and friends, especially his unique wooden crosses and boot birdhouses. His granddaughters were the happy recipients of beautiful doll furniture. Bob also shared the bounty of his garden and had a neighborhood party celebrating his first and very successful watermelon harvest. He encountered many physical difficulties, eye, Knee, hernia surgeries, and giant cell arteritis that caused him to lose the sight in his right eye and a hole in his macula which resulted in losing most of the sight in his left eye. He and Bonnie moved to an apartment in Mapleton in 2017 where he resided until a bout with pneumonia necessitated his move to Maple Heights Nursing Home in May 2019.
Bob was hard working, honest and caring, a devoted husband, loving father and grandfather. He spent many hours driving to Montana to see his granddaughters in their many activities and enjoyed the time spent with them.
Bob is survived by his wife of 64 years, Bonnie; their daughter, Robin Alberti; and granddaughters, Sierra (Anton Fuller) and Mariah Alberti; in-laws, Elaine Banks, Dennis and Melinda Namanny, Allan and Karen Namanny, Becky Young, and Patty and Al Smith; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Ed and Dorothy (Marshall) Banks; brother, Gene; sisters, Roberta Anderson and Detta Stark; granddaughter, Ariana Alberti; sister-in-law, Joyce O’Daniel; brothers-in-law, Arnold Anderson, Verlin Stark, Robert O’ Daniel, Donald Namanny; and nephew, Dustin Namanny.
Condolences may be left online for the family at www.rushfamilycareservice.com
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