John Richarme (Rich) Bankston, went from his earthly home to heaven on Feb. 7, 2021 surrounded by his wife, Shelby, and his cat, Willie B. at the age of 88 years and 8 days.
Rich was born in Atlanta, GA on January 30, 1933 to Alfred B. Bankston, Sr. and Ione Catherine Richarme Bankston. Spending his childhood and youth in then rural Ben Hill, GA. He was a member of Ben Hill Methodist Church where he served as a Steward. He was president of the Greenbriar Kiwanis club of Atlanta and a member of Ben Hill Masonic Lodge #674. After high school he began his 27 year career with Southern Bell Telephone Company. He joined the Navel Reserve and was called to active duty when the Korean War began. Upon his discharge, he continued his career with Southern Bell where he rose to the position of Group Manager in Waycross, GA. While in Waycross he served as president of the Waycross Kiwanis Club and was a member of First Methodist Church where he served as a Steward. He also served on the Ware County Bi-Racial Committee while there. After moving back to Atlanta he became a member of Mt. Paran Church of God.
On an early visit to the Mountains of North Georgia he was so impressed he was determined to one day live in the mountains, which he did after retiring from Southern Bell. He moved to Franklin and began a second career as a Real Estate Broker and worked into his 80s becoming a partner in the Prudential Real Estate Firm. He was an active member in the Franklin Board of REALTORS, he was past president of the Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce. He served on the REACH board and was instrumental in helping to build the current ‘REACH for Bargains’ thrift store. He was a member of Franklin Presbyterian Church where he served as an Elder and later became a member of Cornerstone EPC where he continued to serve as an Elder. He was an ardent supporter of Scottish Tartans Museum during its formative years. Rich served for several years as Chairman of Macon County Tax Equalization and Review Board. He had a lifelong philosophy of giving back to the communities in which he lived in appreciation for the benefits he received by living there.
In addition to his parents, was preceded in death by a brother, Alfred Burton Bankston Jr. and a sister Vivian Rose Bankston.
He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Shelby Rogers Bankston; his son, David Bankston (Belinda) of Beaufort, SC; Daughter, Vivian Bankston (Donnie Hampton) of Marietta, GA; two granddaughters, Allyn and Laura; three great-grandsons; a special lifelong friend, Bill Lewis (Sherry) of Dahlonega, GA.
He was an eclectic reader with a thirst for knowledge, choosing subjects from Mark Twain to Henry David Thoreau. He was a member of the Thoreau Society. One of his favorite activities was hiking on the Appalachian Trail. He was a Life Member of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. He loved the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Natchez Trace and Motor trips out west, taking the road less traveled.
A Memorial Service will be held 2 pm on Sunday, February 14, in the Chapel of Macon Funeral Home, open to friends and family, but please wear a mask and practice social distance. Rev. Dr. Tommy Jordan and Rev. Dr. Randall Rogers will officiate.
Visitation with the family will be held one hour prior to the service.
Online condolences can be made at www.maconfuneralhome.com