Submitted by his Sister
Gary joined the local fire company at 16. He was active locally for many years.
Gary was a great brother . He was always there when I needed him. He was a great father. His 5 children all looked up to him. My 3 children think he was the greatest uncle there ever was. When they were small he’d take them in the grocery store all 7 of them they’d hold hands and behave. Not me – I wouldn’t have thought of going in a store with 7 small children.
In the winter time he’d take them to the YMCA to swim. Just imagine 7 small chidren – he was a great uncle. Today those 7 children have grown up to be intelligent‚ active‚ productive adults. I know it is because of Gary.
His oldest son died in a car accident in 1996. I know it made him a stronger person.
Today I still miss him. I still cry today when I think of him. He was the greatest! My mother still cries for him. He was so far away from home. He was the next to youngest of 6 children. He always did everything first. The first grandchild for my parents‚ first‚ to get married‚ first‚ to move so far away from home‚ first to die. I know he’s in heaven but today I wish he was here.
Gary L. Bankert‚ Sr.‚ 37‚ a member of the Roanoke-Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department‚ drowned on January 15‚ 2000‚ during a dive training exercise. He was an original member of the department’s Search and Recovery Dive Team.