Fred R. Banks, 99, 1117 S. 8th St., Clear Lake, died Saturday, March 9, 2013 at the North Iowa Mercy Medical Center, Mason City, Iowa, surrounded by his loving family.
A funeral service will be held at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, March 14, 2013 at the United Methodist Church, 508 2nd Ave N., Clear Lake, with Rev. Bernie Colorado officiating. Visitation will be Wednesday from 4-6 p.m. at Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, 101 N. 4th St., Clear Lake. A service by the I.O.O.F. will be held at 5:30 p.m. Interment will be at Memorial Park Cemetery, Mason City. Memorials may be given to the Fred R. Banks Memorial Fund.
Fred was born on a farm in Story County, Iowa, Nov. 8, 1913, the last of 12 children. His father passed away when he was just a boy and then he lost his mother before he turned 16. With his parents gone at the height of the depression, Fred saw an advertisement for farm work in Garner, Iowa, so he caught a ride up north. While that job did not pan out because of long hours and no pay, another farmer, Pearl Hickok, from near Ventura, took Fred in and gave him a home and job for the next 10 years.
After a decade of working on the farm, Fred decided it was time to set out on his own to see the country. He saved enough money to buy a car and for the next two years he traveled the western half of the United States. He wanted to see all of the places he had read about. Working odd jobs as he traveled, Fred went south to Texas then worked his way to California, up the coast to Oregon, across Canada, down through Montana and finally ended his journey in Clear Lake.
When he returned, Crit Turner hired him to work for his painting company. On Sept. 24, 1938 he married Crit’s daughter, Luella, and together they had two children. Fred continued to work with his father-in-law and then ran the business after his father-in-law retired.
In 1946 he started painting for contractors, Henkel Construction and Davey & Mochen. In 1956 he started his own business, which his son later joined and he continued to work until retirement in 1991. Still able to work the paint brush, he painted his house at age 96.
Fred’s hobbies were anything that kept him busy outdoors. Well into his 90’s he could still swing the ax to chop wood to burn for heat in his wood burning furnace.
Fred credits his longevity to hard work and healthy living. He never drank alcohol or smoked any tobacco products.
After having a heart attack in the fall of 2012, he was unable to live alone and became a resident of Oakwood Care Center.
Fred is survived by his son, Don Banks, Clear Lake; daughter, Nancy (Jim Pilgrim) Mullan, Clear Lake; three grandchildren, Chad (Sarah) Banks, Mason City, Jason (Heather) Dasch, Des Moines, Iowa, and Brenda (Bryon) Frampton, Mason City; six great-grandchildren, Jordon (Sara) Banks, Joshua Banks, Carsyn Dasch, Avery Dasch, Layne Frampton and Sophia Frampton; one great-great-grandchild, Taelynn Banks; and many nephews and nieces who claim him as their favorite uncle.
Fred is preceded in death by his parents; wife, Luella (July 1981); daughter-in-law, Kathleen Banks; son-in-law, Terry Mullan; and 11 brothers and sisters.
Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel was in charge of arrangements.