Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Get To Know Henry........

Here's a chance to get to know Henry Bannister and learn why he was such a special man.
Born William Henry Bannister on October 31st, 1927 in Bogalusa, La. Henry was a child during the depression and had a tough childhood, but most people in those times had to do without. Being in the country, the family grew their own food and made do on hard work and love. This set the stage for the kind of man Henry was to become. He graduated from Bogalusa High School in 1944 and joined the Navy, serving as a Corpsman aboard the USS Okanogan, a troop transport ship. Henry left the Navy in 1948 to pursue his Education at LSU. He roomed in the Football Stadium Complex and had great memories of his Tigers. Henry's second cousin, Charlie McClendon, was the Coach at LSU for many years. Henry loved " Cholly Mac" as he was affectionately called. Henry met the love of his life, Nonna, in 1950 and they were married on June 23rd 1951. While going to college, he worked at a Grocery Store and at a Funeral Home. He had many stories to share about those days.
They began their family in 1953 with the birth of William Henry Jr. and bought their first home for 8,000.00. Elizabeth was born in 1957 and John in 1959, so Henry built a bigger home on Winbourne Avenue in Baton Rouge,La. He laughed later that he paid almost 16,000.00 to build that house, a lot of money in those days. He worked the gates at Tiger games and made 20.00 per game, which bought quite a bit of groceries. Henry went to work for H.J. Heinz Company and was promoted several times during his career with them. He transferred to Houston, Tx in 1971, then to Memphis, Tn. in 1978.
Tennessee was a good move for Henry and Nonna and they enjoyed many happy years together. Nonna loved to cook and we all loved to eat, and fresh vegetables were plentiful in Tennessee. Henry's favorite hobby was fishing, which he would try to do often. He loved the sport and found solice in being on the water with his boys.
When Nonna finally told Henry about her past and when he saw all that she had saved, he took it upon himself to spend years compiling Nonna's life into a manual form. The culmination of this effort came to fruition when her Memoirs were published into a book in 2009. Henry was determined to see this happen as his way of honoring his wife and keeping her memories alive. He stated that once the book was done, he felt that his life's work was over.
One word comes to my mind when I think of my dad over his life, and that word is CONSISTENCY. He could be counted on to maintain his word, to work hard at his job and to love his family with all of his might. Henry also made a lot of sacrifices through the years, both for his family and his friends. He was loved and respected by all who encountered his smiling face.
I have heard from over 100 people since his death yesterday, and these words are repeated over and over. Soft spoken, kind, soothing, smart, helpful, loving, dedicated, inspirational, high moral fiber, honest, funny, charming, a true gentleman, one of a kind, a good man and on and on.
I will miss my dad as a father and a friend. I will miss his insite and advice. I will miss his charm and charisma and I will miss taking care of him as he aged so gracefully. Yes, dad, you have left a huge hole in my life, but I will go on as you would want me to. I will carry your good name with me for all the days that I live, and I am PROUD of you and how you lived your life!
Until we meet again, I Love You!!!
Love John

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