Cover photo for Russell Harley Bankes, Jr.'s Obituary
Russell Harley Bankes, Jr. Profile Photo
1925 Russell 2024

Russell Harley Bankes, Jr.

August 14, 1925 — April 7, 2024

Corsicana, Texas

Only four months shy of his 99th birthday, Russell Harley Bankes, Jr. of Corsicana, Texas joined his beloved wife, Maxine Elizabeth, in heaven on Sunday, April 7, 2024, surrounded by several members of his adoring family. Known for his positive attitude and “can do” spirit, Russell’s life-long career as a minister began when he was 19 years old. His remarkable ability to commit scripture to memory and his progressive nature that encouraged others to understand the loving nature of God, endeared him to people he touched throughout his long life.

Russell was born on August 14,1925 in New Lexington, Ohio to Bertha Patterson Bankes and Russell H. Bankes, Sr. He was the youngest of five children and survived them all, becoming the longest living member of the Bankes family line at nearly 99 years old. He came from a “long line of love” and a proud heritage of ministers including his older brother, Robert D.Bankes, his father, Russell H. Bankes, Sr. and his grandfather, H.W. Bankes.

Russell attended Freed-Hardeman College and graduated with honors from Abilene Christian University in 1950.

At a revival he was holding in Shadyside, Ohio, in the Ohio River Valley, he met and later married the love of his life, Maxine Elizabeth Davis on her birthday - May 19, in 1951. For nearly 63 years, they navigated the challenges and joys of ministry side by side at churches in Pottsboro, Texas, Shawnee, Okla., Dennison, Texas, Oklahoma City, Richardson, Texas, Irving, Texas, Weirton, West Virginia and Corsicana, Texas. Russell was a sought-after speaker at Oklahoma Christian University, Harding University and Abilene Christian University and conducted gospel meetings throughout the United States and Canada. 

The churches that Russell and Maxine served flourished during their tenures; often resulting in construction of new buildings to accommodate the congregation’s growth. His private life reflected the principles he taught throughout his ministerial career.  He enthusiastically attended Sunday church services every week, thanks to a devoted team of his “angel couples” from West Hill Church of Christ in Corsicana, Tx, until just a few months before his death.

Russell’s quick wit and “never whine” nature endeared him to people throughout his life and especially to his neighbors and healthcare personnel who served him during the past several years. 

Faith and family were the two most important components of Russell’s life. He was a very involved “Daddy” to his two children Mark and April and full of mischief and fun to his six grandchildren and six great grandchildren. In fact, he was the grand “Tom Turkey” at their annual Thanksgiving celebrations including this past year.

When asked how he was doing, he always replied, “I’m better than I was yesterday!” a reference to a favorite scripture:  2 Corinthians 4:16-18. 

“Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal.”

He was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years Maxine Elizabeth Bankes of Corsicana, Texas, daughter-in-law Lesleigh Anne Bankes of Dickson, Tenn. and son-in-law Ove Claes Johansson of Amarillo, Texas.

Survivors include: son, Mark Lee Bankes of Dickson, Tenn. and his daughters:

Marlee and her husband, Geoff Bostick, Ashley and her husband, David Herberger of Cincinnatti, Ohio, Lauren and her husband Austin Owen of McEwen, Tenn. and Alleigh Bankes also of Dickson, Tenn.

Daughter: April Lark Johansson of Amarillo, Texas and her children, Annika and husband Brett Spalding of Amarillo, Stefan Johansson and Monica Mosier of Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Six great grandchildren: Maddox and Corbin Spangler, Gray and Baylor Owen and Olivia and Stellan Spalding and many nieces and nephews.

A beautiful graveside service was held in Cadiz, Ohio at the Cadiz Union Cemetery on April 12th where Russell joined Maxine and his parents at a family memorial in the town where he grew up.

Donations may be made to: The High Plains Children’s Home & Family Services, hpch.org in Amarillo, Texas or to the Food for Fitness program at West Hill Church of Christ, 3400 W. Hwy. 22, Corsicana, Texas 75110.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Russell Harley Bankes, Jr., please visit our flower store.

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Friday, April 12, 2024

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