Mount Pearl mourns death of Fred Bannister

Long-time city councillor, Second World War veteran, dies at 95

Published on July 16, 2014
Second World War veteran G. Fred. G. Bannister died Sunday at the age of 95. In additional to his uniformed service, Bannister was a city councillor in Mount Pearl for 24 years.
— Telegram file photo

A veteran from the Second World War who went on to play a significant role in the development of Mount Pearl has died.

G. Fred G. Bannister died Sunday at the Veterans Caribou Pavilion in St. John’s. He was 95.

A Royal Navy veteran in the Second World War who served 15 years in the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy, Bannister’s community involvement following the war was extensive and far-reaching.

He was a six-term councillor in Mount Pearl and guided the community through a period of substantial change and growth.

When he was first elected in 1961, fewer than 3,000 people lived in the community. By the time his last year on council came in 1989, Mount Pearl had more than 20,000 residents.

Beyond council, his volunteer work helped many groups and causes. He was a founding member of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 36 and volunteered his time to that group throughout his life. Bannister also helped veterans attempting to acquire benefits and those involved in pension appeals.

The presence of the Boy Scouts movement in Mount Pearl owes thanks to Bannister, who was involved in establishing the local Boy Scouts group. He was also involved in the founding of the Mount Pearl Lions Club, Parkdale Manor and the Mount Pearl Seniors Independence Group.

He represented a living link to the Second World War for many students in the community. Bannister regularly took part in Remembrance Day and Memorial Day ceremonies, and also laid a wreath to honour war veterans annually at O’Donel High School’s Remembrance Day assembly.

“People like Fred Bannister, quite frankly, were instrumental in seeing to it that citizens actually did understand the role and the commitment that these men and women made,” said Mount Pearl Mayor Randy Simms, who knew Bannister through the veteran’s community involvement.

“Fred Bannister was a longtime volunteer in a bunch of different capacities, certainly as a member of Church of the Ascension and as a member of the Legion, and of course not to be belittled or lessened in any way, his tremendous contribution as a 24-year member of the town and city council of Mount Pearl.”

Simms described Bannister as a man who was passionate about helping veterans.

“There’s no one in the province that can be looked at who was any more a true veteran and representative of what it meant to be a man of service,” said the mayor.

“Not only when he was in uniform, but when he was out of uniform.”

Bannister’s funeral will take place at Church of the Ascension Friday at 2 p.m. A reception at Park Place in Mount Pearl to celebrate his life will follow the funeral, running from

4-6 p.m.

Twitter: @TeleAndrew