Robert Milton Banks
Robert M. Banks died peacefully with his sons Michael and Dennis by his side at his residence on the Hunt Road on Jan. 29, 2014. Bob was born on Nov. 20, 1925, to Charles Millett and Hannah (Bagley) Banks of Liberty.
Bob served his country in the U.S. Army and was motor pool sergeant in charge of mechanics, drivers and equipment in Germany during World War II. Bob married Edith Verakes on Nov. 1, 1947, in Belfast. Early in their marriage, they traveled around New England to construction sites where Bob worked. Returning to Belfast, Bob worked at State Sand and Gravel as a driver and mechanic and as a mechanic for CA Paul. In 1958 Bob and Edie settled on Hunt Road where they raised their three boys and lived for more than fifty years. Bob continued to work as a mechanic in several area businesses beginning with P.B.Hustus Co. in Waldo in 1960. He worked as a Maplewood Poultry mechanic and later supervised the Motor, Truck and Trailer garage that serviced the poultry fleets. He returned to P.B. Hustus where he worked for two more years before buying the equipment and relocating to Belfast where he opened his own machine shop Banks Brothers Inc., in 1972. He began a very successful career as a machinist, working in the early years with his brother Bill, nephew Robbie, and sons Randy and Mike. Bob eventually sold the business to Randy, and in 2001 Randy bought the former P.B. Hustus property and he and Bob relocated Banks Brothers to Waldo. They continued working side by side until Randy’s passing in 2009. He had a special talent as a machinist and could often be found, even as recently as this past fall, grinding crankshafts and troubleshooting mechanical problems for his friends and family. He was also inventive, installing his own homemade elevator to his cellar and creating an electrically ascending tree stand overlooking picturesque Penobscot Bay.
Bob loved spending time with his family and enjoyed the camaraderie of friends. In the early years of his married life, Bob sang for a local band at the Blue Goose and he enjoyed bowling on the Northport VFW candlepin bowling team. A true outdoorsman, Bob taught his sons to hunt and fish. The Hunt Road home was the center of many hunting excursions for the entire family. He and the family enjoyed many boating trips on Penobscot Bay and three-wheeling and snowmobiling in the Great North with his sons and their friends. Bob continued these outings far into his later years; his last motorcycling trip was to the Gaspe Peninsula in 2007 and he snowmobiled to Millinocket to see his friends the American Loggers in 2011.
One of Bob’s greatest joys in later life was being united with his German daughter Heidi and her family. Bob and Edie enjoyed many visits with Heidi and Herb in Germany and their visits to Maine.
Bob was predeceased most recently by his beloved wife Edie and his son Randy. He was also predeceased by his father, mother, brother Wilfred Banks, and uncle and aunt Herbert and Marie Mehuren.
Bob is survived by his brother Richard; sisters, Merle Potter and Marie Weymouth all of Belfast; sons, Dennis and wife Therese of Lewiston, and Michael and wife Stacey Banks of and daughter-in-law Jan Banks all of Belfast; and daughter Heidi Witzinowski and husband Herbert of Hohberg, Germany. He is survived by his many beloved grandchildren, Dean Banks, Diana Solomon, David Banks, Douglas Banks, Dana Banks, Diamond Banks, Mallory Harnden, Claire Banks, Mackenzie Banks, Hannah Banks, Bobby Banks, Alexandra Witzinowski and Manuel Witzinowski as well as many great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, the remaining Widdas, and very good friend Gene Bonney.
A memorial service to celebrate Bob’s life will be held at the First Church in Belfast on Saturday, Feb. 15, at 1 p.m. A reception will follow in the parish.
Bob was a lifetime member of American Legion Post 43. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Frank D. Hazeltine American Legion Post 43, 143 Church Street, Belfast, Maine, 04915.
Arrangements are under the care of Riposta Funeral Home, 182 Waldo Ave., Belfast, Maine. Memories and condolences may be offered to the family at www.ripostafh.com