Leslie Banks Jr.

Leslie William Banks, Jr., 92
PORTLAND - Leslie W. Banks, Jr. of Portland, passed on from this life on Nov. 27, 2017, after a brief illness. A member of the Penobscot Indian Nation, Les was born on Indian Island on Dec. 23, 1924, to Cecilia M. (Ketchum) and Leslie W. Banks, Sr.
Les spent his youth exploring the Penobscot River, learning to fish, hunt and paddle canoes. He enlisted in the US Army after attending Old Town High School. Ever the brave warrior, he was awarded a Purple Heart and Silver Star for Gallantry in Action during WWII. Mr. Banks fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was wounded in combat at St. Vith, Belgium in January 1945.
Upon his return to the US, Les met the love of his life, Marion I. Sibley. They wed on July 29, 1947, in Old Town. The newlyweds celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this past summer.
Mr. Banks earned a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maine at Orono in 1951. He then moved his growing family to Kittery, where he worked for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard until his retirement in the early 1980s. Many fond memories were made at the "Banks Ranch," where Les' friends, family, various bons vivants, and characters were always welcome.
Les possessed an adventurous spirit, and shared it generously with others throughout his life. He led Boy Scout expeditions through the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, passing along his many outdoor skills.
Over the years, Les built hunting camps on Roach Pond and Birch Stream. He hiked sections of the Appalachian Trail. He climbed Mt. Katahdin a few times, most recently with his brother-in-law, Jimmy Sanborn, when they were in their sixties. He was an avid outdoorsman, hunter and fisherman.
Les participated in Toastmasters International. He was a long time member of the Portsmouth, NH Country Club, playing in the Twilight League. He and Marion were formidable Contract Bridge partners, enjoying many games in the Seacoast area. Leslie was a communicant of St. Raphael's Church, serving on the council and ushering for many years. He was a member of St. Joseph's Church in Zephyrhills, Fla., where the Banks' spent the winter months during their retirement.
Les is survived by his wife Marion; daughter Kathryn and David Bryant of Virginia Beach, daughter Bonita and Larry Johnston of Laconia, NH, son John Banks of Orono, son Andrew and Evelyn Banks of Rye, NH and daughter Sandra Banks and her husband, Tim Smith of Portland; grandchildren Patrick Johnston, Hilary Chase, Sara Lewis, Callie and Mimi Banksmith; great-grandchildren Geoffrey, Violet, Kaylee, Amira and Noelle. Surviving siblings are James "Bernard" Banks of Rio Rancho, NM, Louise "Teeda" Weaver of Winter Park, Fla., and June A. Sanborn of Zephyrhills, Fla. Many nieces, nephews and cousins will miss his laughter and wit.
A memorial service will take place in the spring. Please pass along a generous smile and kind words to whomever you may meet, just as Les Banks would have!

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Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Nov. 29, 2017