Curtis W. Banta

June 26, 2022


Curtis W Banta, 88, passed away June 26, 2022 at the United Methodist Homes in Johnson City, NY. His family misses him so very much. Curt was born October 7, 1933 in Paterson, NJ to Warren and Edith (White) Banta. He grew up in Maywood, NJ as the beloved only child of older parents. Curt’s father died when he was 3 years old. He graduated from Bogota High School in 1951 where he met his future wife, Suzanne M Bergen. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1951 directly after high school and served from 1951-1954, much of the time overseas. He served on the U.S.S. Shelikof, and he brought home many stories of his adventures around the world, including meeting Jerry Lewis. He was a very proud Navy veteran. Curt and Sue were married on October 16, 1954 in Hackensack, NJ, and they were happily married for 67 years. Curt entered Columbia University on the GI Bill, and received his degree in Zoology. He was a life-long learner, and he thought it quite humorous that Pat Boone was in his freshman music appreciation class there. Curt’s sense of humor was over-the-top, and he loved puns and jokes. His first job was teaching science at Pompton Lakes High School, where he also coached cross-country teams. He was then hired by Chilton Memorial Hospital as a histologist. In 1973, Curt and Sue moved their family to a rural farm in Spencer, NY, where he grew a gigantic garden and cut and split wood to heat their home. He also joined the Grange and was on the Board of the Spencer Library. He took a job at Tompkins County Hospital (now Cayuga Medical Center) as a histologist. He enjoyed working there until his retirement in 1995. In the late 1980s Curt and Sue had moved to Trumansburg, NY, where, after retirement, he volunteered to care for plants and aquariums at many local businesses. All through his adult life Curt enjoyed many hobbies. He loved gardening, nurturing house plants of all kinds, riding his motorcycle, keeping aquariums, beekeeping, languages, stained glass design, and many more! Curt’s most beloved volunteer job was at the Paleontological Research Institute (PRI)/Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, NY, where he spent innumerable hours each week helping with their Seismology Outreach Program, maintaining the seismograph, helping with their mastodon discovery and display, and many other projects. He made good friends at PRI that meant a great deal to him through the years. Curt was delighted to inspire wonder and appreciation of nature in his family. Curt loved his wife, children, grandchildren, and their families. He and Sue were most recently residents of the United Methodist Homes Hilltop Campus. Curt was pre-deceased by his parents, his wife, Suzanne M Banta, by only 5 ½ months, and his close cousin, Fred Gardiner of Spencer, NY. He is survived by his daughters and their husbands: Barbara and Steven Brink & Wendy and Duncan Davie; his beloved grandchildren: Kyle (Jenn) Doolittle, Jocelyn (Jesse) Marsh, Gavin (Jen) Davie; his seven special great-granddaughters: Kendra, Noelle, and Ivy Marsh, Lucy and Clare Davie, Lilyanah and Makylah Doolittle, and his brother-in-law, William (Carol) Bergen of CA. A combined graveside service will be held at Evergreen Cemetery in Spencer, NY in August. Donations in Curt’s memory can be made to PRI/Museum of the Earth, Ithaca, NY, or Cayuga Medical Center, Ithaca, NY.

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