Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Raymond Gary Banas, Sgt., USAFDecember 01, 1945 – December 25, 2019
R. Gary Banas, 74, died unexpectedly at his home on Honeoye Lake, Honeoye NY on December 25, 2019. He was born on December 1, 1945.
He was predeceased by his parents Raymond and Mildred (nee Staines) and his wife of 29 years Arlene (nee Pera). He was the former husband of Kathleen R. O’Keefe of Hamburg, NY.
He is survived by his children, Patricia Banas of Tonawanda, NY,R. Gary Banas Jr. of Tonawanda, NY, Peggie Keener (John) of Grand Island, NY, Robert Banas (Sarah) of Tonawanda, NY, Aundrea Baker of Amherst, NY and Arlaina Janowski. He was the proud grandfather of 15 and the great-grandfather of 10.
He lived in the City of Tonawanda for over 63 years and was a 1964 graduate of Tonawanda High School. He was proud to serve his community of the City of Tonawanda in his earlier years with the NY Auxiliary Police and for 30 years as a Group Leader for the City of Tonawanda Public Works Department. Gary was introduced to photography in high school and studied for 3 years in the New York State Photographic Apprenticeship Program. He later applied these talents in the United States Air Force as a Still Photo Journalistic Technician. He served in the Vietnam War from 1967 to 1971 and stationed at Udorn RTAFT. His duties included: PACAS Jungle Supervisor, Air Rescue and Combat Photographer over Southeast Asia and he continued his work with flight photography for Langley Field Air Force Base and at Patrick Air Force Base capturing history by photographing the Apollo 8 Launch in 1968. He remained in service with the New York Air National Guard NCOIC 107th fighter group at Niagara Falls, NY for another 14years.
Upon his retirement, he and his beloved wife Arlene, became permanent residents of the quiet lake town of Honeoye, NY that they had often visited during their marriage. He was an avid hunter and fisherman in Honeoye, NY. Gary enjoyed time outdoors in the Finger Lakes with his daughter Peggie as they would search for unique images that they could capture on camera. Gary also enjoyed summer time visits with all of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
He spent many days with friends at the American Legion in Honeoye, visiting neighbors around the lake, and often joined his lifelong friend, Dennis Hilburger, for an afternoon Manhattan, their favorite cocktail. He was an active member of many clubs in Tonawanda and Honeoye including: City of Tonawanda Elks Lodge, Tonawanda American Legion Post 264, VVA Chapter 77WNY, Honeoye Fish and Game Club, Honeoye American Legion Post 1278, life member of the Tonawanda VFW Post 7545 and the Hemlock Sportsman Club. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends and fellow club members.
Calling hours will be held Saturday, January 4, 2019, 2:00pm – 4:00pm at John O. Roth Funeral Home, 25 William Street, Tonawanda, NY, where a Memorial Service will follow at 4:00 PM with a presentation of military honors. He will be joined with his late wife, Arlene, at private burial ceremony attended by immediate family only. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Vietnam Veterans Association, Chapter 77 WNY or a charity of your choosing.
VISITATIONSaturdayJanuary 4, 20202:00 PM to 4:00 PMJohn O. Roth Funeral Home, Inc25 William St.Tonawanda, NY 14150
MEMORIAL SERVICESaturdayJanuary 4, 20204:00 PMJohn O. Roth Funeral Home, Inc25 William St.Tonawanda, NY 14150