Bennie Lee “Papa Ben” Banks, 82, of Kingston, ID, passed away on Tuesday, February 23, 2021, at his home surrounded by his loving family. Bennie was born on February 24, 1938 (he was just 8 hours away from making it to his 83rd birthday) in Salmon, ID, a son of the late Bennie Alvin and Myrna Corbett Banks.
Bennie graduated from Salmon High School in 1956 and later went on to join the National Guard. He attended several colleges afterwards, including the University of Montana, Arizona State, Brigham Young University, and the College of the Americas in Mexico City. He worked various jobs throughout his life, but was known in the Silver Valley for operating heavy equipment and working at the local ski areas, Lookout Pass and Silver Mountain.
Ben was married to two special women in his life. Diane Sherman and Ben were married in 1964 in Wallace, ID. Their daughter, Amy, was born in 1973. In 1998, he married Andrea Wright Banks on a covered bridge in Andi’s hometown of Randolph, Vermont.
Bennie, also known to his grandchildren and their friends as “Papa Ben”, was always at school sporting events supporting the teams and passing out “rattlesnake eggs” or Jolly Ranchers, to the kids. His familiar yodel could be heard as he expressed his support.
Ben was known to some friends and family as “Sagebrush”, Sacajawea’s brother. How he loved a good nickname for people! Sagebrush asked Andi to say goodbye to the “others” for him. Two Feathers, High Pockets, PoleCat, Hot Lips, Frypan, Indian Paintbrush, Wolfie, Coyote, Grizzly, Snow White, Pickle Head, Vanna, Sonia Santa Fe, Sourdough, and all the others too numerous to recall; goodbye.
Ben was happiest in the outdoors with his friends and family. Hunting big game with his family in Lemhi County as a boy and later in life he hunted elk, bear and cougar in the forests of Shoshone County. During the years he lived in Kauai he hunted goats and enjoyed many hours of deep sea fishing. He also loved skiing, camping, and rodeos.
In addition to his parents, Bennie is preceded in death by a brother, Tom Banks and a son, Jacob William Banks.
Survivors include his loving wife, Andi Banks of Kingston; his daughter, Amy (Darren) Arave of Wallace, ID; two dear grandchildren, Justin and Amber Eixenberger; two great-grandchildren, Lukus and Lilly; a brother, Dick Banks of Salmon Idaho; and two sisters, Adele Plouffe of Clarkston Washington and Linda Banks.
In keeping with Bennie’s wishes, cremation will take place and a celebration of his life will be held at a later date up on the CDA River. Messages of condolence may be sent to the family online at www.shoshonefuneralservice.com. Shoshone Funeral Services, Kellogg, is assisting the Banks family with arrangements.