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Paul I. Banker, age 53, passed away on September 5, 2023, in Concord Township, Ohio, born June 8, 1970, in Painesville, Ohio, to Lloyd and Hazel (Bailey) Banker. Paul survived by his fiancé of 14 years, Melissa Muller; daughter Melinda (Thorsten "Bo" Martin) Simmons; stepchildren Auston Muller and Elizabeth Donken; grandchildren Wade Simmons, Thorsten Martin, and Penelope Martin; sister Kathy Fratino, Mary Washington; brother Lloyd Banker, brother-in-law Michael (Samantha) Muller; nieces and nephews, Misty (Matthew) Valverde, Steven (Peggi) Diffenbacher, Amanda Crellin, Lisa (Steven) Williams, Tommy Fratino, Andrew (Hope) Banker, Anthony Fratino, Christopher Banker, Shawn Muller, Cara Muller and many great nieces and nephews.
His parents, brothers-in-law, Carl Washington and Thomas Fratino, grandparents, uncles, his dog Michelle, and cat Cali preceded him in death.
Paul has been a hard worker since he got his first job at a nursery when he was 15. Paul was a machinist at Fredon Inc. for over 33 years. He attended Perry High School and Auburn Career Center. While in high school, you may have seen Paul and Lloyd racing his 442 Cutlass down Perry Park Road against one of the Liddy Brothers. The 442 Cutlass was the first car that Paul loved. His second love, as far as cars go, was his 2000 Camero SuperSport. Lastly, if you know Paul and his love for cars, you know that he could not keep a car "as is" and not put his "Paul Banker" spin on it. All his Toyota trucks had to have "Big Ole" tires on them. That was just the "Banker" way.
Paul loved life. He loved family reunions and get-togethers. He was a family man and enjoyed spending time with his family. His daughter Melinda was his pride and joy. His face would light up the room when he talked about her, and that my friend is the true meaning of one of the world's best fathers. Paul's big-heartedness came in handy when it came time for him to step in and help raise his stepdaughter Elizabeth from the young age of 3. There is this 3-wheeler (that, if you know Paul, you have seen or heard about, "said" 3-wheeler we are talking about) that Paul had repurchased from Clint for Elizabeth to teach her how to ride. This 3-wheeler has taught many kids how to ride and overcome their fears of bumps and bruises. Paul entered his phase of Dora the Explorer with Elizabeth, and boy, were those the days he was not prepared for!
Not only does Paul hold the title of best father and stepfather, but you can also group grandpa into there as well. Penelope, Wade, and Junior have fond memories with Paul, so let us share a few. Paul and Wade always shared a bowl of Mint Chocolate Chip Ice cream or popsicles while watching TV together on the couch. On the other hand, Penelope's favorite thing to share with Grandpa was a big can of cheddar cheese pringles because "Once you pop, the fun doesn't stop."
Tinkering in the garage and working on cars was a favorite pastime. While working in the garage, Paul always wanted to take all the kids under his wing and teach them how to work on vehicles and properly "maintain your ride." He thought this was a valuable lesson that everybody needed to know, especially his grandson Wade. The Grey Jeep had some issues with the turn signals. Paul and Wade worked on it together, bonding for about an hour. After all that work, the problem was not fixed, but Wade got some valuable life lessons out of that day spent in the garage.
Paul loved working in his yard, making sure to mow the lawn two times a week, and you could bet your last dollar that man was always shirtless on the lawnmower with his full chest of hair.
His longtime friend Carl Adams "Butch" came over to the house on more than one occasion to help renovate the kitchen and lay beautiful flooring throughout the house. On another occasion, while updating the home, Bob (Melissa's father) tried to tell Paul not to cut the pipe that was hooked up to the water, and well, guess what? There was no water in that pipe. At that moment, Paul went next door to get his Mr. fix-it-all neighbor John for help, seeing how that said pipe should have contained water, and when Paul cut through the line, there should have been some waterworks in the kitchen and there was not.
Paul loved taking Max, his sidekick and road dog, on trips to the store. Anywhere Paul would go, you were sure to hear him say, "Let's go, Max, get up in the Jeep." He was an animal lover and did not care if the animal belonged to him or not. He loved his grand-dog Kobe, and every time he would come to visit. He had the perfect backyard to allow all the dogs to run and play freely without a care in the world.
Paul had many longtime friendships, some dating back to the late 70's. Paul and Clints friendship led to Paul being the best man at Clint and Julie, as well as Clint and Dottie's weddings. Paul had the ultimate bachelor pad where you often found the "3 Amigos," Paul, Ray Getzy, and Jimmy Childers, doing what bachelors did best: "Going to Taco Bell, and that's all I know." Whenever family or friends visited, Paul would fire up the grill or pull out all the leftovers from the fridge that somebody had just put away to feed you, whether you were hungry or not. He always had family and friends over for the holidays. They would play cards and shoot pool.
Paul lived a very adventurous life, without a doubt. At one point, he had a crazy idea of becoming a boat captain and owning his own boat. Paul took his cousin Duane, Duane's son Christopher, Elizabeth, and Melissa to Lake Erie for a fishing trip. That was a trip to remember for all involved. They hooked up the boat, fueled it, got Duane a fishing license, and set sail. Listening to Duane tell the story, you can see the joy on his face and the memory that will forever be in his heart. The first time Paul took this boat out onto the waters, Paul did not realize there were no brakes. Paul had never captained a boat prior, and Melissa, being from Florida, quickly jumped into action and saved the day. They all returned safely home, where Paul could learn boating safety properly.
As you all can see as you have read this very long obituary that is not the typical one, Paul was not your ordinary man. Paul was loved by many and touched the lives of those whom he met daily. We ask that you celebrate Paul's life the way he celebrated every holiday by firing up that grill, playing a hand of cards, shooting a game of pool, eating a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream, or eating a cheddar cheese pringle.
DONATIONS IN PAUL'S MEMORY MAY BE MADE TO HIS DAUGHTER, MELINDA SIMMONS
In Care of the Family