Carnations 2

Mary Joan (Dunn) Banman

October 1, 1935 ~ August 22, 2023 (age 87) 87 Years Old


Mary Joan (Dunn) Banman, age 87, died on Tuesday, August 22, 2023 in Asheville, North Carolina with her children at her side. From her birth in Buhler, Kansas, on October 1,1935 to her death on Tuesday she nourished people around her with love, compassion, and generosity. Her friends often referred to her as “Sweet Mary.” She loved sports, politics, animals, and her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. 

Mary was born in Halstead, Kansas to William J. and Lena (Dirks) Dunn and was the younger of two children. Mary’s older brother, William (Bill) E. Dunn died on May 17, 2018. She loved him very much and missed him greatly after his death. 

Left to honor Mary and remember her love are her three children, Steve Banman (Sandy), Sue Banman Sileci (Riccardo), and Christine Banman (Polly); five grandchildren, Allison Quinones (Albino), Craig Banman, Audrey Sileci, Natalie Mills (Jonah), and Jacob Schattel; four great grandchildren, Albino and Aurelia Quinones, Georgia and Juniper Mills; sister-in-law Irene Dunn; nieces Sherry Stoutin and Cyndy Kym, and nephew Mike Dunn. 

After graduating from Buhler High School, Mary attended Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas. She lived in Denver, Colorado for 30 years, where she raised her family. There, she worked at the League of Women Voters and General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC). She was an avid Denver Broncos fan and a season ticket holder. When she moved to Asheville, she worked in customer service for Sears Wishbook and First Citizens Bank. Mary loved to volunteer for community causes in Asheville including Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry (ABCCM). At every election, she was a volunteer poll worker for the Buncombe County Democratic Party, serving as chief judge for precinct 29 for seven years.  

Wherever Mary worked and lived, she created friendships and community. She loved her life in Asheville, where she lived near Christine’s family. She attended a number of churches and enjoyed church activities and adult Sunday School classes. Later in life, she and her dear friend Elaine watched church together at home. They often ate lunch and did other daily activities together. She had a soft spot for Sunday football games, cats, custard pie, gin and tonics, shopping, and going to the park with her granddogs. She loved to travel, and she visited much of the United States along with Haiti, Switzerland, Brazil, Mexico, and Canada. She was successful at keeping warm ties with her grandchildren and great grandchildren, even as they lived across the country or abroad. 

Mary’s family extends gratitude to the nursing staff of Laurels of GreenTree Ridge and Carepartners Hospice, who cared for her in her last days.

For Mary’s many friends in Asheville, a celebration of life will be held on September 16, at 2 PM. in the community room at 40 Gerber Rd. A memorial and burial of her ashes will take place in Kansas at the Buhler Cemetery in January.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Mary’s name to Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry (ABCCM), 10 Buck Shoals Rd, Arden, NC 28704.

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