Lt. Ralph E. Banks

PAXTON - Ralph E. Banks, 86, of 8 Bel Arbor Drive, died Friday, February 2, 2007, in the Rose Monahan Hospice Residence, Worcester, after an illness.

His wife of 54 years, Dorothy R. (Rising) Banks, died in 1997. He leaves two nieces, Margaret E. Rising of Wheelwright and Katharine A. Olen of Worcester; grandnephews and grandnieces; and a close friend, Mary Winchester of Auburn. He was born in Worcester, son of George E. and Louise H. (Warren) Banks, and lived in Worcester before moving to Paxton 40 years ago.

Mr. Banks was a U.S. Air Force veteran of World War II and the Korean War. He was awarded the Silver Star, Legion of Merit and the Air Medal for bravery while serving as a flight commander and pilot flying an F-86 Sabre jet, 336th Fighter- Interceptor Squadron, in Korea. He was also given the distinction as an ACE Pilot and served in the Air Force Reserves as a Major until 1956.

He was a past president of the Worcester County Retired Officers Association and continued his love of flying by piloting aircraft for Botwinik Brothers in Worcester for many years. He was a member of St. Columba Church and was an avid golfer. He enjoyed his yearly reunions with other veterans in Hawaii and sneaking off to Foxwoods.

The funeral was February 6 in St. Columba Church, 18 Richards Ave., and burial was in Worcester County Memorial Park, both in Paxton.

Memorial donations may be made to the Friends of the Mercy Centre, Inc., 25 West Chester St., Worcester, MA 01605. Miles Funeral Home (www.milesfuneralhome. com), 1158 Main St., Holden, directed