Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Jean Wilson Banks

My Great Grandfather Jean Wilson Banks passed away this weekend. There are a million things I could say and write about how I feel, memories I have, how amazing I thought this man was... But for some reason right now I don't really have the words. So I'm going to post his obituary with some of my comments intermingled...

Jean Wilson Banks, 93, passed away Saturday, May 14, 2011 in Richfield, UT. He was born September 20, 1917 in Yankton, South Dakota to Will Carlton and Rachel Everett Banks. At the age of six years his mother passed away, at which time he went to live with his paternal grandparents in Lynd, Minnesota. He graduated from Lynd High School.

Following graduation from high school he went to Washington state where he worked in the gold mines and at a saw mill for a short time. He then joined the Marine Corps in 1937. While in the Marine Corps he served on Guam and was later stationed with the Marine battalion serving in the Shanghai conflict in Shanghai, China.

Jean was then sent to Honolulu, Hawaii where he was stationed at Pearl Harbor and where he met and married his beautiful native Hawaiian maiden, Ella Kuikuiehu Keanini on November 1, 1941. She preceded him in death in November 2004, after 63 years of marriage.

How could he not fall in love with this gorgeous wahine?

While still newlyweds, Jean & Ella were living in the Navy housing at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 when the bombing of Pearl Harbor took place. My grandfather was awarded a Purple Heart from Pearl Harbor They had many interesting experience during this time. They spent the rest of WWII stationed in the Hawaiian Islands. Their four children were all born in Hawaii: Clayre (Dr. De N., deceased) Jones, Jeanne (Roger T) Ogden, Val (James P) Miller, Eugene Wilson (Evelyn) Banks. They have 28 grandchildren, 84 great-grandchildren (me) and 27 great-great-grandchildren (Sydnee and Beckham)

This is a picture of when Sydnee was only 2 weeks old. It's 5 generations.

Jean Wilson Banks

Clayre Elgin Kailianukamakaokalani Banks Jones

Clay LaMoyne Jones

Koren LaNette Iki Manu Jones Iannoli

Sydnee Lehua Iannoli

(Please ignore my just pregnant chubby face)

Jean remained in the Marine Corps until 1949 at which time he transferred to the Army Air Corps and then to the US Air Force where he was a special weapons instructor. He retired from the military in 1959. He spent several years following retirement working for the civil service at the Tooele Army Depot in Tooele, Utah and at the Poulsbo Torpedo Naval Station in Poulsbo, Washington, He and Ella then retired to Tolleson, Arizona (Oh don't we all LOVE Tolleson?)where they remained until Jean moved to Sigurd to stay with his daughter, Jeanne.

My Grandfather was frequently honored and invited to Pearl Harbor Memorials. It's always made me proud to know that my family contributed in fighting against to one of the most devastating attacks in US history. Beckham was born on December 7th and I am happy that we can share that day celebrating

For the longest time this is exactly how I would picture my Grandfather. He would hide out and set up some rockers and a TV in the BARN!

My Grandparents were together for 63 years. And it was heartbreaking when my Grandmother became sick. My Grandfather really missed her for the past 7 1/2 years.

I am proud of my heritage, of my family and the examples that they have been for me. I hope to be able to continue their example by raising a beautiful family and making sure my children know who they came from.

Aloha 'Oe Grandpa Banks! We love you


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