Fred L. Bankus, age 87, passed away on May 12, 2023, at the Des Moines VA Medical Center. Friends and family are invited to pay their respects during the visitation at Pierschbacher Funeral Home in Knoxville on Friday, May 19, 2023, from 4:00 until 6:00 p.m. A funeral service will take place at the funeral home on Saturday, May 20, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. Interment with military honors will follow at Graceland Cemetery in Knoxville.
Fred L. Bankus was born in Knoxville, Iowa, on March 9, 1936, to Wayne and Ruth Bankus. He attended grade school in Knoxville until he was eleven years old. Fred’s family then moved to a farm north of Chariton and he attended school in a one room grade school. He graduated from Chariton High School in 1954 with the honor of being the Student Body President.
After high school, Fred continued his education at Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration, honored with the privilege of being the Student Body President, and then enlisted in the United States Army for a year. He was always grateful that he served as it proved to be a huge benefit at the end of his life.
Fred became an admissions counselor and advisor for Parsons College and then went on to be the Dean of Admissions at JFK college in Wahoo, Nebraska. In 1963, Fred married Eloise Hiatt and together they had two children: Bill and Becky Bankus. In 1971, he moved back to his hometown of Chariton, Iowa and took a job as the first Vice President of the National Bank & Trust.
Fred and his family moved to West Des Moines in 1983 and opened a sporting goods store, Sport About West. After a successful run, he later sold the store and became a mail carrier for the United States Post Office until he officially retired. Once retired, he moved to Pella, Iowa.
Fred was an avid sports man. His main loves were softball and track and field. He participated in the Senior Olympics for many years, and played softball year-round until he was eighty-five. He was most proud when his team, The Buzzards, won the national championship in 2017 in the over seventy-five age category. He created a youth track club in Chariton (CTC) and the team competed in many events around the country. Fred made sure that if any youth wanted to participate, they would be included no matter the cost. This meant a great deal to him.
Fred received several accolades during his life. He was especially proud of his induction into the Iowa Senior Games Hall of Fame in 2009, and his induction into the Chariton Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.
He never embraced technology. Fred preferred to write handwritten letters and use a telephone book. He never owned a smart phone, nor was ever able to master setting a digital clock. He authored and published three books: Belinda Boy, Belinda Man, and Belinda Guy, was the editor and writer of the Belinda Softball newsletter, loved reunions, and kept his mind sharp by doing crossword puzzles and trivia games – Jeopardy was a favorite of his.
He never smoked or drank and was the designated driver for many college events. He did, however, like to play the ponies back in the day. Fred was not a fan of potatoes, beans, onions – just could not do it, but he was known to favor oysters on the half shell on occasion.
Fred was a devoted father and grandfather. He never missed the chance to visit his friends and family. The Pella Chronicle quoted him saying, “Keeping in touch is one of the simpler things, one of the easier things, we humans can do for another.” We could not have said it better dad. You were an inspiration to us all.
Fred is survived by his daughter, Becky Bankus; grandchildren, Logan (Tara) Fisher, Laurel Fisher, and Tessa Lebo; his former wife, Eloise (Jim) Heger; brothers, John (Mary) Bankus and Paul Bankus; brother-in-law, Dick Hines; his loving and devoted partner of 10 years, Donna DeJong; along with many nieces and nephews, family and countless friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Wayne and Ruth Bankus; his son, Bill Bankus; and his sister, Connie Hines.
Memorial contributions may be made to the family and will be designated at a later date to set up a scholarship in Fred's name to help support underprivileged youth athletics in the local area.