Walter F. Bankowski
VIRGINIA BEACH – Retired U.S. Navy Commander Walter F. Bankowski, 76, died peacefully at his home on June 30, 2010. He was the son of Walter Francis and Nellie Kiektyk Bankowski. Following the death of his parents, he was lovingly raised by his Uncle and Aunt, Joseph and Victoria Trocki.
He was preceded in death by his brother Stanley Trocki, son Peter Bankowski, and daughter Jennifer Bankowski Townsend. He leaves behind his wife of 52 years and true love, Janet Aucoin Bankowski, one sister, Helen Krol of Jacksonville, Il., sons Walter Bankowski, Jr. and wife Lyn of Oak Harbor, Wa., Andrew Bankowski and wife Charlotte of Virginia Beach, Va., Paul Bankowski and wife Amy of Austin, Tx., son-in-law Nick Townsend of Timberville, Va., and daughters Lisa and husband Steve Wilmot of Cold Harbor, Va., and Susan and husband Will Russell of Charlottesville, Va. He was known as Dzia-Dzia to grandchildren Nick, Marina, Elizabeth, Stella, Sophie, Isaac, and Ashley.
Walt was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, in May of 1934. He graduated from Boston College in 1955 and then earned his Masters of Education in 1956. Instead of teaching he answered the call for military service and the thrill of aviation, joining the Navy in early 1957. He became a Naval Aviation Observer following training in Pensacola, Fl., and flew with VW-11, VP-16, and AEWTULANT out of NAS Pax River, Md., NAS Argentia, Newfoundland, and NAS Jacksonville, Fl. When that designation was changed to Naval Flight Officer he joined the fighter community and became a RIO, flying the F-4 Phantom for the Be-Devilers of VF-74 at NAS Oceana, Va. He served only a short time in Vietnam with VF-74 on the USS Forrestal CVA-59. After 5500 hours his flying years were over and he served as the ACHO and was a plankowner on the USS John F. Kennedy CV-67, NFO Analyst at the Naval Safety Center, Weapons Department Head on the USS Forrestal CV-59, and Staff Weapons Officer at COMNAVAIRLANT. He retired in 1983 with 26 years of distinguished service and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.
Walt was a very active member of St. Nicholas Church serving as a lector, Eucharistic minister, and aspiring actor in the many theatrical productions at the church. He loved golf, bowling, and sailing with Janet and the Super Sloopers. Keeping close ties with the Navy, he actively volunteered his time as a docent on the USS Wisconsin BB-64 at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, earning his 3000 hour award in March of this year.
His family welcomes all to the celebration of his life on Tuesday, July 6, at 6 pm, at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Virginia Beach. A reception will follow in the church social hall.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations are made to the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure. Cremation is being handled by the Cremation Society of Virginia and condolences may be offered to the family at www.cremate.org.