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Reed Banks aka Santa Claus

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    Posted: Jul 10 2015 at 12:19pm

BANKS, Reed Age 93, of Monroe, Ohio passed from this life to the next on July 7, 2015. He was born November 1, 1921 in Wolfe County, Kentucky to the late Goebel Banks and Donie (Tester) Banks. Reed was preceded in death by his wife of 68 years, Marilyn (Johnson) Banks. He is survived by daughter Carol (Thomas) Setter of Cincinnati; son, Larry (Lynda) Banks of Monroe; and daughter, Janna Banks of Monroe. He is also survived by four grandchildren: Ryan Setter of Cincinnati, Sean (Kate) Setter of Cincinnati, Darren (Amy) Setter of Portland, Oregon and Jaime (Andy) Young of Monroe, as well as four great-grandchildren. Also surviving Reed are brother, Bill (Opsie) Banks of Trenton, Ohio; sister, Marie Banks Mynhier of Anniston, Alabama; and brother, Jack Banks of Middletown, Ohio.


After graduating from Trenton High School in 1940, Reed got a job at Armco Steel. When the US entered World War II in 1941, Reed enlisted in the Army the next day. He served until the end of the war in Europe and North Africa as a member of the Army Corps of Engineers, building bridges to facilitate troop movement. He earned many commendations including the Bronze Star for Bravery. He rarely talked about his service in World War II but was a lifelong patriot. After the war, Reed returned to his job at Armco, retiring in 1970 after 30 years of service as a crane operator.


In addition, Reed and his wife Marilyn were the founders and long-time owners of Reed's Center variety store and laundry in Middletown, Ohio. After their retirement from Reed's Center, they enjoyed traveling, camping, and attending a variety of bluegrass shows where they made many close friends. Additionally, Reed portrayed Santa at Towne Mall in Middletown during the holiday season for more than twenty five years. With his natural beard, twinkling blue eyes and lively personality, he encouraged people of all ages to embrace the spirit of Christmas. Many local families likely have pictures of Reed as Santa with their children in their photo albums.


Funeral services will be held on Saturday, July 11, 2015 at Herr-Riggs Funeral Home, 210 S. Main St., Middletown, Ohio 45044. Visitation is at 9:00 a.m. followed by the funeral service at 10:00 a.m. with Rev. Norman Coleman III, officiating. Burial at Woodside Cemetery immediately after, with Military Services by Middletown Combined Honor Guard.


The family requests that anyone wishing to make a memorial contribution in Reed's name contact the Wounded Warrior Project at Arrangements by Herr-Riggs Funeral Home, 210 S. Main St., Middletown. Condolences may be sent to the family at

Published in Journal-News on July 10, 2015 - See more at:

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