With deep sadness we announce the passing of Warren Banks, beloved husband, dad, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend.
Born and raised in Parksville, BC, Warren grew up working in his dad’s garage. During WW II, Fred Banks Garage also became the first Parksville Volunteer Fire Hall, and Fred and his brother Bill, along with Warren and cousin Rod, were instrumental in establishing the PVFD. Thus Warren began his unofficial fire career at age 12.
Warren met his childhood sweetheart, Beverley Ann Hunt, at school when he was 7 years old and she was 6. It took a while for Bev to warm up to Warren; probably due to the fact that he took great delight in pulling the ribbons out of her hair. In typical undeterred fashion, Warren managed to win her over and they were married on June 14, 1952 in St. Anne’s church in Parksville.
Warren and Bev moved to Kitimat in 1954, where he took the position of deputy chief in the fledgling Kitimat Fire Department, and Warren and Bev began their family.
In 1970, Warren and Bev, now with children Jim, Rob, and Donna, moved to Trail where Warren assumed the role of Fire Chief until 1980.
After a brief stint in Victoria, working with BCBC as a Fire Prevention Officer, Warren and Bev moved to Nanaimo where Warren was Fire Chief until his retirement in 1987. Warren and Bev returned to their roots in Parksville, where they have resided ever since.
Warren’s dedication to fire safety was lifelong. Warren, along with many of the Kitimat team, studied hard and passed rigorous examines to receive certification from the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE). In the days before paramedics, when the fire department was also the first responder for medical emergencies, Warren and the team also qualified in industrial first aid and participated annually in the WCB provincial industrial first-aid competitions.
In Trail, Warren’s first order of business was to upgrade the fire equipment and vehicles. He also successfully worked to introduce a city by-law to relegate the use of dangerous fireworks outside city limits, and he implemented a door-to-door summer program to educate the community in the life-saving value of smoke detectors. He was active for many years in the BC Fire Chiefs Association, serving a President in 1980.
Warren never missed an opportunity to advocate for fire safety improvements, both in the communities he served and province-wide. He worked to educate civil servants and politicians, local and provincial, in the needs of their respective communities. Even in retirement, Warren took on the role locally for a short time of Fire Prevention officer as an LAFC for the OFC. He is remembered as an honorary member of the Parksville Volunteer Fire Department, and finished his career with 45 years of fire service in BC.
Aside from his fire service, Warren was always active in his communities, serving as a School Board Trustee in Kitimat and coaching hockey. He was a member of the Trail Rotary Club and also served the community through volunteer work as a member of the Masonic Lodge. He was a member of the San Periel rate payers association in Parksville, and he worked with a group of concerned citizens to successfully lobby for the preservation of the Parksville Community Park (which his dad, Fred Banks, along with other community members, was instrumental in founding).
From childhood, Warren was an outdoorsmen, often accompanying his cousin Rod and many friends on local camping and fishing trips. Camping and fishing holidays were also a mainstay of Kitimat life, where summers included long drives exploring the province and visiting family at the coast and on the Island. In Trail, Christina Lake became the summer spot of choice, though fishing the Pend Oreille and Columbia Rivers, as well as Kootenay Lake in chilly fall weather, were also enjoyed.
In retirement, Warren and Bev shared many RV adventures, often accompanied by Rod and his wife, Nanette, travelling as far south as the US/Mexico border and north into Alaska and Inuvik. They also organized and participated in RV group outings, and drove across country to take Bev’s dad, Bert, to visit his birthplace. Warren, accompanied by son, Jim, took his dad, Fred, back to his hometown of Trowbridge, England. Warren and Bev rounded out their many travels with a visit to New Zealand, cruises to Alaska and through the Panama Canal, as well as joining family trips to Hawaii and San Diego.
Warren and Bev have always been incredibly supportive of their family, spending time with and ultimately helping each other care for their aging parents. Many years found them helping Uncle Bill and Aunt Lil Banks and family harvest the hay at the end of the season. Warren always remained close to his kid sister, Joan, and her husband, Fred, sharing many Christmases and summer vacations together with each other’s families over the years.
For many years Warren and Jim shared a weekly catch-up phone call, and Jim was almost always home for the holidays, often joined by good friend, Jessica. Warren and Bev could often be found building this and that for one of the kids, or heading to Rob and Janet’s or Phil and Donna’s to attend a wedding, baby dedication, high school graduation, etc. They were either hosting or attending family Christmases, Thanksgiving and Easter celebrations, and it was pretty rare to have a holiday without at least one of the kids home with them. They are deeply cherished by their grandchildren and spouses; Aaron (Rikki), Sarah (Steve) Kelcy (Matt), Janica (Jhin) and Marissa. Great Grandpa and Great Grandma are also such a treasured part of the lives of Brooklyn, Grayson, Bentley, Mckenzie, Maddyn, Mateja, Georgia, Isla, and Max.
Warren and Bev kept in touch with friends and cronies from their Parksville youth and retirement, as well as those from their times in Kitimat, Trail, Victoria, and Nanaimo. Warren loved to talk and always had time for everybody, whether over a coffee, a beer or a scotch. Too many friends to name, so many adventures and laughs to remember, each one with fondness and love.
For Bev and all of Warren’s family, his many friends, his fire colleagues, and even the Stanford staff who cared for him in his final days, the saying rings so true: “To know him is to love him”. That’s Warren, and we all miss him, and are the better for having had him in our lives. He’s gone off to find Rod and Fred, and our hearts and love go with him.
A Memorial Service will be held in Warren's honour at 1:00 pm on Friday, September 24, 2021 in the Allsbrook Room at Yates Memorial Services, 1000 Allsbrook Road in Parksille. To comply with current health authority regulations we regret that in-person attendance is by invitation, but for those who would still like to join the family we are able to offer a Zoom link to the service.
Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 892 388 3664
To send flowers to F. J. Warren BANKS' family, please visit our floral store.