John J. Banach, age 89, died peacefully at home on April 20, 2021, after a lengthy illness.
John was born in Dunkirk to Joseph and Helen (Popielarz) Banach. After graduating from Dunkirk High School in 1948, he began his career at ALCO. From 1951 to 1955, he proudly served in the United States Navy during the Korean conflict. He was stationed at Great Lakes Naval Air Station in Glenview, Illinois, and the Philippines. After his discharge from the Navy, Mr. Banach returned to work at ALCO as a draftsman.
In 1955, he married Joanna Haase. Upon the closure of the local ALCO facility in 1962, John enrolled at Fredonia State University. In 1966, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education. He spent his career teaching in the Dunkirk School system and retired in 1990. Mr. Banach will be fondly remembered by many of his former students who frequently greeted him at local events.
Mr. Banach was very proud of his 50-year membership in the Dunkirk and Fredonia Lions Club, having served as past President and as a former District Governor for District 20N Lions International. He was a recipient of the Melvin Jones Fellowship, the highest recognition in the Lions Organization. He previously served on the board of UNYTS as the coordinator of its eye tissue donations. Mr. Banach was a longtime member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Shorewood Country Club, First Ward Falcons Club, Moniuszko Club, Elks Lodge No. 992, Dunkirk Hose Co. 1, Moose Lodge, SUNY Fredonia Alumni Association, and the Dunkirk Teachers Association. He will be remembered for his compassion, fairness, and devotion to civic and volunteer causes.
He was an avid softball player, a catcher for various teams, and an enthusiastic supporter of local teams and tournaments. John also enjoyed playing golf with family members and friends.
Family came first. He was always ready to lend a helping hand and offer sage advice. His Polish heritage was important to him and he enjoyed explaining traditions and passing them down to his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He also enjoyed teaching them about some of his favorite activities such as golf, gardening, history, and cribbage. John also enjoyed the many trips he took with Joanna, both across the United States and internationally.
John is survived by his wife of 65 years, Joanna (Haase) Banach; his son Dr. David (Rosemary) Banach of Dunkirk and grandchildren: Rebecca, John, and Bernadette; his daughter Ellen (James) Murphy of East Greenbush, New York; and grandchildren: Elizabeth (Joshua) McIntyre of Queensbury, New York, and Daniel (Tressa) Murphy of Troy, New York. He is further survived by six great-grandchildren: Brianna and Andrew McIntyre; Riley, Kailey, Connor, and Emma Murphy.
He was predeceased by his parents, his sister Dorothy (Banach) Pinkowski, and an infant brother Henry.
Calling hours will be at McGraw-Kowal Funeral home on Sunday, April 25, 2021, from 3-6 p.m.
A mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, April 26th, 2021 at 11 a.m. at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church.
Covid restrictions will apply.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Mr. Banach’s name to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Dunkirk-Freedonia Lions Club, or Northern Chautauqua Catholic School Fund at Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation.