Irven Theodore “Mike” Bannister, age 81, of Backus, passed away Wednesday, July 15, 2020, at his home. He was born to Irven E. and Ruth E. (Butterfield) Bannister on May 29, 1939, in Barclay Township. Mike graduated from Pine River High School where he held the track record for the fastest mile for over 50 years. He was a proud member of the Backus American Legion Post# 368.
Mike never married nor had children of his own. He moved in with Dave and Jan in the late 70’s. He became their family and they became his. He enjoyed his military career, hunting, fishing, trapping, Enduro Racing, woodworking and practical jokes. One of his favorite hobbies was wrapping presents. He used a lot of duct tape and fiber tape for wrapping empty boxes or boxes filled with rock. He never missed a holiday or any major event the kids had, however he didn’t do pictures. He enjoyed any time he could get with Dave, Jan, children, nephews, nieces and the grandchildren and was very proud of all of them. He enjoyed logging, working for years logging with Sawyer Timber and M & S Logging. Even after retirement you could find him just randomly showing up in the woods to watch over Jr. as his crew worked, right up to his passing. Mike enjoyed making things out of wood. Some of our favorites were his wishing wells and the big buck pot that were very detailed and beautiful. He recently rebuilt a lighthouse that was destroyed in a storm for Mindy. He enjoyed hunting and fishing with the grandchildren every chance he could. He is dearly loved and missed by the Schmid and McAllister families and his friends. He was Grandpa and Uncle to all and renamed us all with loving nicknames. Mike enjoyed animals. He had several good dogs over the years and enjoyed counting deer every morning on his way to town for coffee with guys. About 9 years ago a stray cat showed up and had kittens. One of those kittens melted his heart and he had met his match. Amara (Attitude or Addie) never left his side day or night. All of them loved him dearly.
Mike (SSG Bannister) served with the Army Reserves from August 21, 1959, thru March 18, 1963. He enlisted in the National Guards, 1-194th Armor serving from March 19, 1963, to March 18, 1966. He re-enlisted in the Army Reserves May 10, 1974 serving until November 26, 1993; a total of 33 years 7 months and 4 days, finally retiring from A CO. 1/409th 205th INF. BDE.
Mike is survived by his brothers, Alan and Doug; adopted family: David and Janis Schmid along with their children, David (Becky) Schmid Jr, Mindy (Chad) Rogers, Tommy (Kristy) Lukanen, many grandchildren, great grandchildren, nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his parents, Irven and Ruth; sisters, Annabelle and Jeanette; and godson and namesake, Michael Bryan.
Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. Friday, July 24, 2020, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church. The memorial services will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, July 25, 2020, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church with visitation one hour prior to service. Burial will be at Fort Snelling National Cemetery at a later date. Officiating the service is Pastor Travis Lauterbach. Readings by United States Army Sergeant 1st Class Eric Schmid. Honorary pallbearers are his grandchildren, Steve Botz, Justin Hughes, Adam Ericson and Megan Young.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Irven "Mike" Bannister, please visit our floral store.