James Browne Bannar, of The Villages, FL, died 85 years young on January 6th, 2023. While those who love him always appreciated Jim’s commitment to punctuality, they do wish this was one event he’d gone late to. No amount of time with him would have been enough.
Jim is deeply missed by his wife of 58 years, Doris Marshall Bannar, as well as his children, Andrew and Julie Bannar and Katharine and Shawn O’Day, grandchildren Charlie, Wesley, Kyrie (Andrew), Kayleigh (Jack), Katharyn (Austin), Jordon (Katie), and Noah (Angelica), and his great-grandchildren Rowan, Theo, Olive, Otto, Blaire, Landon, and Evelyn. He leaves them with enough stories to last generations, as his great-grandchildren are already learning.
Jim Bannar was born December 28th, 1937, to James Browne and Katharine Small Bannar in Camden, NJ. He is preceded in death by his sister, Martha Cavendar Kenny. Jim graduated from Audubon High School in 1955 and Bucknell University in 1961, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in engineering and was a proud member of Lambda Chi Alpha. He served in the Army Corps of Engineers as 1st Lieutenant for two years at Fort Belvoir, where he met the love of his life, Doris Mae Marshall. They were married April 25th, 1964.
Jim worked in chemical sales for four decades, residing in Delaware, West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, before moving to Florida in his retirement. Jim was a faithful servant and member of Union Lutheran Church in Pennsylvania and Hope Lutheran Church in Florida. He was a friend of Bill W. for nearly 38 years, sponsoring and supporting countless people on their journeys with sobriety.
He spent time every summer at his parents’ coastal cottage in Freeport, Maine. Thanks to his careful stewardship, The Cottage at Wolfe’s Neck is a place beloved and enjoyed by his entire family. Jim and Doris often adventured abroad together, and one of his favorite trips was to Russia. Jim loved bluegrass, golfing, and the Cincinnati Bengals, and was a season ticket holder for the Eagles during his time in Pennsylvania.
With a riotous sense of humor, quick wit, and famously low tolerance for incompetence, Jim kept those around him both entertained and in line. Jim surprised everyone by taking up banjo at the spry age of 69 and performing regularly and joyously until the end of his life. A recent write up of his bluegrass group called Jim “just plain fun to listen to and watch”–which his family says was true both on and off the stage.
Jim leaves a legacy of love and deep humility. He constantly reminded those around him of how proud he was of them, and when speaking of himself, simply said “I’m doing the best I can with what I have.” As it turns out, he had so much, and he gave all of that abundance to his family and extensive network of dear friends, who are grateful for the years they shared with him and the memories, music, and hilarious voicemails they are left with.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a charitable donation in Jim’s honor to the the Freeport Historical Society in Freeport, Maine. https://www.freeporthistoricalsociety.org.