ROBERT W. BANNING


BANNING ROBERT W. BANNING Automobile dealer, politician, and civic leader Robert W. Banning was born on March 10, 1927 in Washington, D.C., and was raised in Takoma Park, Maryland. He passed away on June 6, 2013. He was the son of the late George Samuel Banning and Iverna Cramer Banning. Mr. Banning was a graduate of Calvin Coolidge High School in the District of Columbia, where he lettered in football. After graduating from high school, Mr. Banning served in the United States Navy. Later, Mr. Banning attended the University of Maryland where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. He later was a member of the Diamond Back Terrapin Club. After college, Mr. Banning joined his father in the automobile business at Banning-Sheehy. In 1950, Mr. Sheehy's interest was purchased and the dealership was renamed Banning & Sons Motors. During a 50 year career in the automobile business, Mr. Banning expanded the business into Bob Banning Motors, which included dealerships in New Carrollton and Hyattsville, Maryland. The New Carrollton location continues as part of the DARCARS Automotive family of dealerships. Mr. Banning was the recipient of numerous national automobile dealership awards during his career. Mr. Banning was on the Board of Directors of ATANCA which later became WANADA, the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association. Mr. Banning entered politics as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates. He later served as the Chairman of the Maryland Racing Commission under three governors.. During his tenure as Chairman of the Maryland Racing Commission, Mr. Banning served on the boards of several national thoroughbred horse racing associations. As an extension of his interest in horses, he began riding and jumping at age 58. He often enjoyed riding his horse, "Hans", in Virginia's horse country. Mr. Banning served on the Boards of Prince Georges County Hospital and Doctor's Hospital of Prince Georges County, and was a member of the Kiwanis Club. Additionally, Mr. Banning served on the Board of Trustees of Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia from 1987 to 1992, where he received the James Madison Award for his services to the college. He was President of the College's Parents Council in 1987. In addition to his parents, Mr. Banning was predeceased by his wife Elizabeth W. Banning and his brothers George S. Banning, M.D., and Bruce C. Banning, M.D. Mr. Banning is survived by Mary Jane Banning and Ola V. Brady. In addition, he is survived by his children Robert W. Banning, Jr., Georgeanne B. Landis, Roberta B. Emblidge, Scott J. Banning, M.D., James L. Banning and Christopher R. M. Banning, 11 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Mr. Banning had a life-long love of auto racing that included owning the "Bounty Hunters" and the "Bob Banning Dodge" which was the fastest funny car on the East Coast at one time. His passion for racing was evident as a young boy by his participation in the finals of the 1939 District of Columbia Soap Box Derby at age 12. Mr. Banning was later inducted into the Drag Racing Hall of Fame. Mr. Banning also enjoyed boating, particularly aboard his beloved "Puddin Head" where he could be found at the Annapolis Yacht Club, on the waters of Chesapeake Bay, at The Tides Inn in Irvington, Virginia or at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida. On Friday, June 14, 2013, the family will celebrate his life and receive friends at The Army Navy Country Club, 1700 Army Navy Drive, Arlington, VA 22202, between 12 noon and 3 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions may be made in his memory to Virginia Hospital Center Foundation, 1701 N. George Mason Drive, Arlington, VA 22205 or Victory Junction at 4500 Adams Way, Randleman, NC 27317.


Published in The Washington Post from June 13 to June 14, 2013