1938 - 2023
VisitationOctober 5, 2023
Dolan Funeral Home, 106 Middlesex St., N. Chelmsford
FuneralOctober 5, 2023
The Dolan Funeral Home
Born in a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA, on October 5, 1938, to Andrew and Alberta Banyas, Jim was the second of eight children. Although he grew up during frugal times, he enjoyed a childhood of mischief and fun crafting slingshots with his friend Buddy – sometimes targeting windows – until his father took it away! A used and somewhat rickety bicycle allowed him to escape the outskirts of his town for other adventures. Swimming at the local town pool is what he enjoyed the most, A sport he loved throughout his life.
In 1956 as a U.S. Army soldier, he was stationed in Turkey, and later at the former Fort Devens in Leominster, MA. For fun and entertainment, he and his friends would venture into Lowell. There, he met the love of his life and future wife, Marlene Parigian. They married in 1959 and lived in Pennsylvania for a few years; returning to Lowell and eventually Tyngsboro – almost 35 years. They eventually retired to Westford to be closer to family.
Jim was a parishioner of St. John the Evangelist in N. Chelmsford and enjoyed his church family and related activities. He was a member of The Greater Lowell Fly Fishers for over 15 years. With his friend Russell, they looked forward to finding hideaway fishing spots to cast their reel. As a lifetime member of the Chelmsford Elks, he enjoyed social activities and friendships. Over the past few years, Jim was no longer able to drive. His friend David helped him keep his Friday night social connection; this meant a lot to him.
Trained as an electrician in the U.S. Army, Jim worked for many years with the Avco Corporation in Lowell, MA on many specialty materials projects – including the “heat shield” used on spacecraft. Later, Avco became known as Textron, where he remained until retirement in 2001.
Some people raise chickens, Jim raised Finches! At times he probably had a variety of 15 birds. If he wasn’t tending to his home, he’d be practicing fly casting, bow and arrow, riding a bike, swimming, or walking. When he met his new neighbor, Bob, they became instant friends! Together they probably have worn out a warehouse of sneakers over the years. A typical Sunday walk was often a 10+ mile trek. Later in life, struggles with arthritis and Parkinson’s hampered Jim’s walking abilities. However, they continued their best efforts along the Pawtucket Blvd. river walk. Often, stopping for a donut!
His greatest passion, however, was swimming. He was fortunate enough to vacation at Lake Winnipesaukee in NH. He liked to challenge himself and began a tradition of long swims that took him miles from his Bay. His slow, steady swimming was mesmerizing to watch – arms rising out of the water, slicing a purposeful propelling motion forward. His legs slightly splashing, head lifting for a breadth. Nowhere in particular to go, but a distance to cover. Since he had pockets in his bathing suit, he had the perfect place to store treasures he found along the way – often golf balls. One of his favorite “short” swims would find him locating “his rock”. If Lake levels were low enough, he could stand with shoulders just above the water level; seemingly in the middle of the Lake. As if in a gift of appreciation and friendship, Loons would call out to him and often appeared to surround him. Sunset swims cast him in living color. His daughter Vanessa often joked her father was probably a fish in a former life!
When Jim and Marlene wintered in Florida, he was happy to be able to swim daily in the pool – just like the old days! No wonder Jim ended up having shoulder replacement surgery. He truly wore them out!
Jim’s sweet tooth could be considered an embarrassment; he often fell asleep with candy in his mouth! Lollypop sticks slumped to the side of his mouth, drool-stained T-shirts, or sticky gum stuck to the couch – producing quite the evidence – and annoyance to his wife! He was also a lover of peanut butter and required it at every dinner.
Most of all, Jim was a quiet, kind-hearted man. He felt truly blessed to have had so many wonderful people in his life and to have many lasting memories and experiences. His loving wife of 57 years was his greatest blessing, and he was grateful for the life they created.
Aside from his wife Marlene (2016), Jim is predeceased by his only son, Jimmy (2017); his siblings Bob, Jerry, and Carol (Tumpa); brother and sister-in-law Benny and Angela Hampson; and far too young nieces Karen Tumpa, Doreen Pepe, and Valerie Jesson. He is survived by his daughter Vanessa; grandchildren Michael, Ashley, and Katlyn; sisters Marilyn and Darlene, brothers Ray and Dave; a sister-in-law Roseann, and their respective families.
Consideration for donations can be made to support those suffering from Parkinson’s in Jim’s name: https://www.apdaparkinson.org/.
His daughter Vanessa and grandson Michael will welcome friends and family for a memorial funeral service at Dolan Funeral Home in Chelmsford, MA on October 5, 2023, from 10:00AM -12 noon with services at 12 noon.