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Arthur W. Banister

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Arthur W. Banister Obituary
Arthur W. Banister USAF (RET.)

Cocoa Beach, FL

Colonel Arthur W. Banister, retired US Air Force, passed away on Saturday, June 14, 2014 in Cocoa Beach, FL. He was born in Springfield, MO, January 7, 1928 to the late James H. and Frances W. Banister.

He graduated with honors from Millburn High School in Millburn, NJ and was also an honor graduate of West Point, class of 1949. Upon graduation he entered the Air Force and completed pilot training at Connally AFB, TX and Nellis AFB, Nevada. He was assigned to the 27th Fighter Escort Wing at Bergstrom AFB, TX. He was later assigned to the 12th Fighter Wing. He was transferred to K-2 Air Base, Taegu, Korea as a combat pilot. After completing 75 missions, he joined the new Cadre of the 9th Fighter Bombers Squadron (part of the 49th FBW), which was redeploying to Nagoya, Japan.

Thus ended Art's operational flying career. He moved on to graduate studies at NC State College, receiving a MS in Nuclear Engineering. He remained on flying status for the next 15 years. His career path turned toward engineering management in Space Operations. During this period, he attended Air Command and Staff School, Army Air College; completed tours with the Air Force Academy (faculty), defense Atomic Agency, Space and Missile Systems Organization; and served on the air staff twice. He was promoted to Colonel in 1969, retiring in 1976. After leaving the service he was employed by Ford Aerospace. He retired in 1990 as a senior program manager. Art was an avid golfer, enjoyed 40 years in Toastmasters International, and had leadership roles in the West Point Society.

He was an advanced stamp collector, served as secretary of the local stamp club. Perhaps Art's favorite avocation was chasing solar eclipses, a passion that took him all over the world for more than 40 yrs. In the process he observed more than 15 total eclipses- a feat matched by only a select few of astronomers and enthusiasts. It was truly "the ultimate hobby", as he fondly called it.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 22 years, Barbara E. Banister; three daughters, Nancy Gates, Eva Banister and Amy Hanrahan; three grandchildren; five nephews; brother and sister-in-law, James H. and Lee Banister; two stepchildren, and seven step grandchildren.

Although Art's accomplishments in life were many, he never craved recognition; he did things because they needed to be done because they were the proper things to do. His goals were simple, to be a good father, a good soldier, and a good citizen. In this he succeeded, perhaps more than he realized.

He will be missed by his family, friends, and all those who knew him well enough to call him 'Art'. However, we know he rests peacefully, secure in the achievement of his fondest goal-proudly representing The Long Grey Line.

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 24th at Beckman-Williamson Funeral Home in Cocoa Beach. In lieu of flowers please make donations in his name to . You may sign Art's guest book at

Published in FLORIDA TODAY on June 22, 2014
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