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BANKS Winter-Spring ISSUE 2006 Martha Banks King Celebrating a Humanitarian — Martha Banks King Martha Belle Banks was born January 30, 1900 in the family home built by her grandfather on New Hope Road, Franklin County (now Stephens County), Georgia. She died in Bradenton, Manatee County, Florida, January 8, 1985, and is buried in the family plot in Manasota Cemetery, Oneco, Florida. She graduated from Cannon’s Academy near her home, then graduated from Georgia State Normal School in Athens before beginning her teaching career in Banks County, Georgia in 1920. There she met and

married Bartow England King, who had recently returned from Army duty in France during WWI. Their first child, Mary Lou, was born in Mt. Airy, Habersham County, Georgia in 1922. The family moved t o M an at ee County, Florida in 1924.

Martha had a distinguished career in teaching and community service in Manatee County. She served as classroom teacher in five schools and principal in two. She was elected to membership in Delta Kappa Gamma, honorary society for outstanding teachers, and Martha Belle (King) also served as and sister, its st at e Alice (Terrell) Banks. p resident. She was charter member and president of Manatee County Business and Professional Women’s Association. Throughout WWII, she served as president of M a n a t e e County Chapter of the American Red Cross. At that

time, there was no paid staff, so it was her responsibility to manage disaster relief during hurricanes, to communicate between service men and their families, to conduct fun-raising and other functions of Red Cross. For this, she received a citation from President Truman. She served on and was secretary of the committee that established Manatee Veterans’ Memorial Hospital, the first modern hospital in the area. She was a member of the Manatee County Fair Board, Eastern Star, DAR, American Legion Auxiliary, and served as state president of Legion Auxiliary. During the summers of 1937 through 1940, she enrolled in Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Florida, where she graduated in 1940. She served her God and the First Methodist Church well as Sunday School Teacher, Superintendent of Elementary Sunday School, Chairman of Commission on Education and president of Susanna Wesley Service Guild. After her retirement from teaching, she organized retired teachers to teach basic skills (reading, math, etc.) to inmates of the county jail, many of whom were illiterate. In 1979, she received the great honor of having the beautiful new MARTHA B.

Martha Banks King

Inside this issue: Cemetery Clean-up On Hallowed Ground


In Memoriam P.3 Russell Marion Banks, Jr.

Rev. Rebecca Dixon receives award for excellence


July wedding for Seth Byrum and fiancée, Brandi Skipper


Matthew Banbury to study in Tokyo


Diane & David Leonard


Reunion photos!


KING MIDDLE SCHOOL named in her honor in recognition of her many contributions for the betterment of her community. Recently, the existing campus of more than 113,000 square feet was demolished to make room for the brand new facility on 17 acres. Just this month, Bob and Susan King attended a fundraiser for the new media center. Bob says the construction looks great, and should be ready for occupancy this June!

Winter-Spring, 2006

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Donna Dodd

The old gate grunts when opening, as if awakened from a long, deep sleep. The ground is hard, the rocks damp and covered with moss – some brown and dying, some new, bright green growth standing tall, reaching for the sun. Shovels, picks and rakes lean against the fence like an arsenal of rifles in a John Wayne movie. One by one, we each retrieve our weapon of choice – or either our choice of the least-favorite ones left behind. Gloves are donned, and the smell of gasoline chokes freely from the weed eater. Interestingly, for a moment, it seems somewhat impolite to be invading the natural habitat of insects and plant-life feeding on our family’s sacred ground. I even question myself - to whom does this belong? There are times — many times during this day — that we pause to honor a headstone or discuss a type of foliage. And, Thomas Dixon often takes us back in time - reflecting some of the colorful family stories he’s heard since a child. The thrill of reuniting with relatives seems to overshadow everything else. Then, just like a roller-coaster slowing down to a crawl, the excitement begins to calm. I finally catch my breath, double-checking to make sure no one is aware of my special request . . . And I ask God to let me feel my Daddy. A gentle warmth comes over me, and I am profoundly aware of Daddy, of Uncle Verner, of Tom Banks and other loved ones who, too, had stood right here, wiped their brows after a long day’s work – and who perhaps even sat on the same logs to share a bite to eat. Each year, our loved ones make the journey. Some do not return; and just as before, younger, smoother hands reach out to toil the same earth. They, too, will no-doubt agree, ―it is an extraordinary experience!‖

.) As far back as I can remember, cemetery cleanup was the yearly ritual that took place the day before Sunday’s Family Reunion of our Thomas Marion Banks descendents. Daddy was so proud when our brother, Billy began joining in the ceremonious rite. If I ever went along with Daddy, I don’t remember it – but I always wondered why Daddy seemed so blessed by the experience. Diane and I have taken part in the cemetery cleanup for the past two years. Now, we understand.

Winter-Spring, 2006

In Memoriam Russell Marion Banks, Jr., died Tuesday, January 10, 2006. A Wake was held Friday evening, followed by the Funeral Mass at St. Francis Xavier Church, Saturday, in Birmingham, Alabama.. Our condolences to Margaret and her family. Although Russell was ill, and could not make the trip in October, we were so blessed to have had Margaret at our 2005 Banks reunion.

Banks News/Announcements .

Aunt Viola Seth Byrum, youngest son of Bruce and Jane Byrum, graduated from Texas A&M University on 16 December and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. He began USMC training in Quantico, Virginia on 5 January. Seth is engaged to Ms. Brandi Skipper from Waxahatchie, Texas and they are planning on a July wedding. Uncle John Matthew Banbury, a sophomore at UNC-Charlotte, will fly to Japan in March to begin a year of studies at

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the University of Tokyo. In addition to his own studies, he will teach a class in English to Japanese students. Sayonara Matthew. Aunt Bertie Dixon receives award for excellence . . . The Rev. Rebecca Dixon, a 1978 graduate of Franklin County High School, was the recipient of the 2005 Sandra Wells Peterson Professional Advocate Award for Excellence from the North Carolina Interagency Council for Homeless Programs. Mayor Spence Broadhurst of Wilmington, N.C., commended her for ―a 15-year track record as a spokesperson for homeless families, individuals, and her work and leadership with TriCounty Homeless Interagency Council since its inception in 1992. Because of her efforts, the council and its grant writing process is considered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to be a model for other jurisdictions. As a mentor, she has helped agencies such as Coastal Horizons and first Fruit Ministries become valuable, sustained organizations. After serving as Executive Director for Good Shepherd Ministries in the early 90’s, she worked with Volunteers of America of the Carolinas and the Wilmington Housing Au-

Rev. Rebecca Dixon thority to develop Wilmington’s first housing program for homeless victims of domestic violence. She is a chaplain associate for New Hanover Regional Medical Center, serving as chair of the Professional Consultation Committee for the Clinical Pastoral Education Program at the hospital, and is liturgical assistant on the staff of Church of the Servant (Episcopal). Rev. Dixon, who was ordained to the Gospel Ministry by the First Baptist church of Lavonia, is a graduate of TruettMcConnell College in Cleveland, University of Georgia at Athens, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, and Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia. She is the daughter of Thomas and Ginger Dixon of Lavonia. December 14, 2005— Article from the Anderson Independent

David and Diane (Banks) Leonard Every year our reunions bring me closer to our roots and I gain a little more insight and love for our particular ―branch.‖ I especially love hearing what David (hubby) observes and brings home to share. Here are some of our personal thoughts and memories of October 2005:  Our generation has a ―Tom Banks!‖ Tom and Peggy’s son Chris is like a shining light. He seems to be the perfect combination of his mother and daddy – funny, outgoing, game for anything, and personable, kind, and engaging.  Lanny and Sandy’s grandson Brendon. David thought he was the perfect picture of a little boy, as evidenced by the number of pictures he took of him in action – running so hard that his hair was sticking straight up – that big smile, and his face full of freckles. He appears to have stepped right out of a Norman Rockwell painting.  Rusty and Karen’s son, Chris. David noticed how much of a gentleman he was when Colleen arrived. He was the first one over to help her out of the car and insisted on carrying her dishes of food. He was so kind, polite, and respectful. Obviously raised right – and now has a wonderful family of his own.  Elaine and Charles’ granddaughter - La’el. Her wings just keep showing!! What can you say?  Cousin Eddie. I loved telling him about my memories of his sisters, Linda, Karen and Judy. Every time we went to see them, we would beg them to play the piano and sing something, which they so graciously did. My favorite was ―Two Little Children,‖ and I can hear them right now – Linda on piano and Karen and Judy singing. I remember the emphasis Judy always put on the phrase ―the little girl’s feet were as BROWN AS the curls…‖ Mama Banks had a picture in her living room of an angel watching over a little boy and girl as they walked across a broken bridge. I always thought that song was about them. ■ Insid e Story Hea dli ne

Winter-Spring, 2006

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I’d like to thank all who contributed to this edition! Our next newsletter is scheduled for publication in July. We welcome your news, announcements, recipes, stories, and story ideas! For anyone wanting personal copies of our special presentation—Banks video, I will have copies available at the 2006 October reunion—Also, welcome back Shelley Anderson!! Cousin Donna You may send your SCOOP to me, Donna Dodd at: 134 N. Lakeside Drive Kennesaw, GA 30144

Got Some Banks Scoop??

Or you may email me at, or contact me by phone - 770-421-1122

Winter-Spring 2006 Banks Newsletter  
Winter-Spring 2006 Banks Newsletter  

Martha Banks King She served her God and the First Methodist Church well as Sunday School Teacher, Superintendent of Elemen- tary Sunday Sch...