Farm Animals 05

John L. Banks

October 11, 1936 ~ April 29, 2021 (age 84)


John L. Banks, age 84, of Seymour, passed away peacefully April 29, 2021 at the Wayne County Hospital in Corydon, Iowa surrounded by family.

John was born October 11, 1936 at home to Ray and Nellie (Eddy) Banks in Centerville, Iowa.  John was named after his grandpa John Banks who was from Blackrod, England.  His mother passed away when John was 22 months old and his father later married Inez McCoy Cornmesser.  The family moved to Seymour when John was just a boy.  He went to Seymour country school, and graduated from Seymour High School with the Class of 1955.  He was involved in FFA and played football.  His football team won the Bluegrass championship 2 years in a row, and this was a proud accomplishment for John.

He was united in marriage to Marlene McVeigh on November 16, 1957.   This union was blessed with six children; Kathy Jo, Karol Ann, Karla Kay, Kelli Rae, Kayla Jean and Ray Joseph.  John and Marlene spent over 35 years of their married life on a farm a mile and a half south of Seymour that they purchased in 1962.  A lifetime of memories were made here. Farming and cattle were his life and something he was passionate about.  He was a very savvy businessman and his children could always count on him for excellent financial advice.  To supplement his farming, John had many businesses over the years including Banks Hog Yards, the Centerville Sale Barn -both with his dad Ray, and a feed store.  John had a special relationship with his dad and was very proud to continue the tradition and name his son after him.   He carried a silver dollar his entire life that his dad gave him at age 12, even when you could no longer tell what it was.  John was the hardest worker, and set an excellent example for his children and grandchildren in this regard. 

He was an avid outdoorsman and loved to hunt, trap and fish in his younger years.  John loved playing cards at Phil’s barbershop with "the boys".  He and Marlene would often go out to eat at George and Nicks and for car rides in the country. Their kids would join them when they could.   John and Marlene built their dream home in 1998 just south of Seymour.  They hosted many family gatherings there which you could always tell by the number of cars parked in the driveway.  Another highlight was the family vacations they took, as well as going on two Alaskan cruises.  It was tough to get John to leave Wayne county, but when he did, he really enjoyed himself.  Marlene helped him on the farm for many years and he said he couldn’t have done it without her.  His son Ray, began farming with him and John loved being his mentor.  He was the strongest man his kids ever knew, and his kids and grandkids were his pride and joy.  He took special pride in his five beautiful daughters, who are often referred to in the community as the “Banks girls”.  He was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in his home on November 29, 2020, which was a very special day for John and his family.

Left to honor his memory are his wife of 63 years, Marlene; children, Kathy Banks (Steve) Hunt of Corydon, Iowa, Karol Banks (Sonny) Wells of Centerville, Iowa, Karla (Jerry) James of Kirksville, Missouri, Kelli (Tony) McCarty of Atchison, Kansas, Kayla (Joshua) Beck of Centerville, Iowa and Ray (Angie) Banks of Seymour, Iowa; grandchildren, Amber (Ryan) Grage of Port Byron, Illinois, Drew (Meredith) Hunt of Indianola, Iowa, Bailey (Darrell) Gwinn of Humeston, Iowa, Sydney Bethards (Cody Clark) of Centerville, Iowa, Allie Hunt (fiancé Brad McCormick) of Madrid, Iowa, Addy Merryman of Norwalk, Iowa, and Eli Merryman, Nellie Banks and John Neil Banks, all of Seymour, Iowa; bonus grandchildren, Carey (Matt) Thomas of Mexico, Missouri and TJ Hunt of Vancouver, WA; great-grandchildren, Landon, London, MaKenna and Gunnar Leland Grage of Port Byron, Illinois and Easton Hunt of Indianola, Iowa.   Siblings, Rilla Murphy of Seymour, Iowa, Ronnie (Nancy) Banks of Seymour, Iowa, Mary Schaffner of Unionville, Missouri and Janet Demry of Centerville, Iowa; and numerous nieces and nephews.

John was preceded in death by his parents, Ray and Nellie Banks, and step-mother, Inez Banks; great-grandchildren, Hunter Clyde Grage, Franklin Cash Grage and Paisley Mae Hunt; brothers and sisters-in-law, James and Mary Banks and Gerald and Sally Banks; and brothers-in-law, Tom Demry, John Murphy and Bob Schaffner.

A Family Graveside service will be held at 10:30AM, Monday, May 3, 2021 at Sharon Chapel Cemetery Southeast of Centerville, Iowa.  John’s family is asking that all who come to please wear a mask.  Due to the pandemic, an outside Visitation will take place Sunday, May 2, 2021 at the Band Stand on the Seymour Square with the family greeting friends from 2-5PM.  Memorials have been established to the Sharon Chapel Cemetery, and may be mailed to Lange Funeral Home and Crematory, C/O John Banks family, 1900 South 18th Street, Centerville, Iowa 52544. Condolences may be shared online at   

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John L. Banks, please visit our floral store.


May 2, 2021

2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Seymour Square

Graveside Service
May 3, 2021

10:30 AM
Sharon Chapel Cemetery
260th & 540th
Centerville, IA 52544

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