John Banman, 95, died on November 29th at Kidron Bethel Health Care in North Newton, Kansas. He was born on June 23, 1918 in Canton, Kansas to Jacob and Helen (Pankratz) Banman.
John, a graduate of Newton High School, attended Bethel College for one year prior to completing his Bachelor’s degree at Wichita University in 1940. Two years later he received the first master’s degree given in clarinet performance from Northwestern University. While serving as a medic in the Army, he performed with various military music ensembles. John, an honored music educator, taught in Kansas for over 65 years in Clearwater, Ellinwood, and Great Bend Kansas. John was a woodwind instructor at Fort Hays State Summer Band Camp for over 20 years. After retirement he gave private lessons in Hesston and Newton.
Throughout his career, John continued to perform and arrange music. From the 1940s until his retirement he was a fine jazz saxophonist performing with musicians across Kansas and beyond. Upon retirement in Harvey County, John returned to classical music performing with the Mid-Kansas Orchestra, various Bethel College groups, in local churches and in recitals with local musicians.
John was member of Bethel College Mennonite Church and beloved member of the Kidron Health Care community where his music and humor provided a lift to many. He was a dear friend, teacher, father and husband and will be remembered for his generosity of spirit and a life well-lived. When asked recently by W. Nugent about advice for living good long life he said: “Try to think of something you can do to make this a good world.”
He is survived by his children: daughter, Nancy Banman and spouse, Stanley J. Scott, and son, Paul Banman and spouse, Robin Avery. He was preceded in death by: his wife, Iris (Wetz) Banman; father and mother, Jacob and Helen Banman; and brothers Paul and Anton Banman and sister Katherine Mason.
A memorial service will be held at a later time at Bethel College Mennonite Church. The John Banman Memorial Fund has been set up for the Bethel College Music Department.
What a joy to have known both Iris and John as educators and fine life examples. John’s legacy is the happy memories we will always have of him. Carmen Graff,EHS class of 1959
John’s vocal music class was my favorite class. What a great man!
John Banman was such a man of integrity and talent. Some of my fondest memories of my teenage years were playing music – marching band, concert band, ensembles, music competitions – under the leadership of John Banman. He touched the lives of many!
John was a great friend and the most influential teacher in my life. It was indeed a privilege and honor to have known him for over 50 years.
Condolences to the family. A great human being, musician & family man. One of my mentors when starting out in teaching band back in the day.
Mr. Banman’s son, Paul, is a wonderful musician here in the South Florida area. My band and I were saddened by the news that Paul lost his dad during our recently-booked concert in Georgia. We gave words of condolences to his family at the beginning of the show acknowledging Paul’s absence in order to be with his dad, and the audience was very remorseful. Paul, our prayers are continuously with you as you and your sister make adjustments at this time. Blessings, Shenita, Rich and The Rolls Voice Ent. Family
I agree with Joseph Boley, John Banman was a great human being, musician and family man. He was that rare person who seemed to care more about others than of himself. Always the “good and faithful servant,” his place is now with our Father in Heaven. We are all better persons for knowing him.
Sam Stitt, EHS Class of ’70
Rest John, until you hear at dawn,
the low, clear reveille of God.
Thank you for your service to this nation.
John Banman was a neighbor, mentor and friend for as long as I can remember. He was a dedicated teacher who set an example for everyone who was honored to be in his company. He was always on the go with business to tend to. He brought a professionalism to our small rural community for years.