James “Jim” R. Banyas Sr. of Westford, MA

1938 - 2023

US Veteran US Army


October 5, 2023
Dolan Funeral Home, 106 Middlesex St., N. Chelmsford


October 5, 2023
12:00 Noon
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.



4 Condolences for James “Jim” R. Banyas Sr. of Westford, MA

  • Avatar

    Bob, Carol, Lisa & Sue Inniss


    Vanessa & Michael we want to express our deepest condolences for the loss of your father and grandfather Jim. He was a great friend and neighbor for 56 years. We always felt he was a part of our family and will be greatly missed by us all.
    The Inniss Family

  • Avatar

    Edward Ciampa


    Jim was a great friend whom I had known through St. John’s as my fellow usher Larry and I would greet him every week. He was especially fond of talking to Larry as he entered the 4 o’clock service. We sadly watched his walking deteriorate as time went on , but not his strong spirit which kept him coming to church as much as possible with the aid of a friend. I would deliver Holy Communion to him at his home on a weekly basis and spent many a morning chatting with him and his caring daughter Vanessa over a cup of her coffee. When he entered the Westford House nursing home, I would try to visit him as much as possible but not on as regular a basis as when he was at home. I will always remember him as a good friend. God bless his soul.

  • Avatar

    Theresa Clawson


    I miss Jim’s kind and friendly face and spirit at St. John’s. He was a special man. My prayers go out to his family and friends. May he rest in the peace of Christ, Theresa Clawson

  • Avatar

    David Cross


    Dear Vanessa and Michael,

    I was deeply saddened to hear about Jim’s passing. He was not just a friend, but a cherished companion in the beautiful moments we shared together.

    Our times going to mass at St. John’s church were truly special. Jim’s devout faith and his presence there always made the experience more meaningful. He had a way of making even the simplest moments profound.

    Our trips to Lake Winnipesaukee were filled with laughter, adventure, and the beauty of nature that Jim appreciated so much. Those memories by the water will always hold a special place in my heart.

    And of course, our Friday night beers at the Elks were a tradition that brought us together, offering a chance to unwind and share stories, reminding us of the importance of friendship and camaraderie.

    Jim’s spirit and the memories we created together will live on in our hearts forever. He touched our lives in many ways, leaving behind a legacy of faith, friendship, and cherished moments.

    Please accept my deepest condolences during this difficult time. Jim will be greatly missed, but his memory will continue to bring us comfort and strength.

    With sympathy and love,

    David Cross

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