Kent and Patty Bankus of Niceville, Florida, passed away together on February 16, 2016. Kent was born October 11, 1942, in Milan, Missouri. He graduated from University of Missouri School of Engineering in 1964.
After that he entered the Air Force where his first assignment was Vance AFB, Oklahoma, where he graduated No. 1 in his pilot training class. Upon completion he entered F-100 training at Luke AFB, Arizona. He was assigned to Bien Hoa Air Base in South Vietnam where he was shot down while flying combat and was rescued by an Army helicopter. He was selected to attend test pilot school in 1969. Upon completion, he was assigned to Eglin AFB, Florida. Throughout his career, he flew the F-4, A-7 and F-16 in multiple assignments. His last flying assignment was at Hill AFB, Utah where he was the director of operations. He then went on the Pentagon in 1986 where he was assigned as Special Assistant to Under Secretary of the Air Force for Research and Engineering. He retired in January 1987 with the rank of Colonel and then became a staffer for Senator Sam Nunn in 1988. He became Corporate Vice President for General Dynamics for a very successful career in the defense industry.
His military decorations include the Silver Star with one oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart,
Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and the Air Medal with two silver and three bronze oak leaf clusters, just to name a few.
He served on the board of the YMCA, was a member of the Test Pilot Association, past member of Fort Walton Sailfish Club, member of Rocky Bayou Country Club; he loved retirement, their beautiful home on the bayou in Niceville, fishing, boating, their farm in Missouri hosting hunting outings, and golf. Pop Pop was adored by his many grandchildren.
Patty was born June 14, 1960, in Carbondale, Pennsylvania, and grew up with her parents and six siblings in Falls Church, Virginia. Kent and Patty were married December 26, 1989, on a ski slope in Breckenridge, Colorado.
Patty was a vivacious soul who loved her family and friends fiercely and dearly, was fun loving and quick-witted; enjoyed gourmet club, Bible study, knitting, crafts and traveling with Kent and Grammie time with the kids. She was a wonderful cook, known for her desserts and hostessing talents. She loved entertaining with creative and fun theme parties. Her five brothers and sister, many nieces, nephews and grand-nieces, along with huge extended family members and friends will forever miss her bright smile, blue eyes, gorgeous auburn red hair and laughter.
Kent is preceded in death by son John Bankus and father Dempsey Bankus.
They are survived by Kent's mother, Margie Isaacson; Patty's parents, William and Margaret McDonald, Virginia; son Kyle Bankus (Dawna), Virginia; Kathleen Hope Murray (Wes), Crestview, Florida; Kent's siblings, Bob Bankus, Jaci Diebner, Jeri Hollowell, Donna Huxtable; Patty's siblings Mark, Tom, Billy, Michael, Tim and sister, Jeannie, McDonald, Virginia; many nieces and nephews and grand-nieces.
Grandchildren, Taylor Knowles, Syndey Bankus, Grant Bankus, Kyle Bankus, Ashley Bankus, Bennett, Leander and Mavie Murray and great-grandchild Aiden Knowles.
A memorial service will be held at Crosspoint Methodist Church, Niceville, Florida, on Tuesday, February 23, 2016, at 3:30 p.m.
Published in Northwest Florida Daily News on Feb. 22, 2016.