Patty "Pat" Lou Banks, 91, of O'Neill, formerly of Clearwater, died Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019 at Arbor Care Center in O'Neill.

Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 at the Methodist Church in O'Neill. Rev. Wayne Owens will officiate.

Memorials may be made to St. Jude's Children's Hospital or the United Methodist Church in O'Neill.

Biglin's Mortuary in O'Neill is in charge of the arrangements.

Patty was born on May 8, 1928 to Ben and Alice (Myer) Cunningham in Iowa Township-Middlebrach. The oldest child of seven, she spent her young years in the Middlebranch area helping her mother with the younger kids. The family later moved to Inman where Patty graduated from high school on May 14, 1947. 

She married Horace “Bud” Sholes on June 9, 1946. They raised their three children on the family farm near Inman. They moved into Inman in 1980.  

Patty started working outside her home in 1968 when the kids were old enough to be home alone. She worked at the grocery store in Inman.  In 1971, she went to work at O’Neill Senior Citizen’s Home initially as a housekeeper, then a certified geriatric aide, then as office manager. She changed jobs in the late 1970s and became a bookkeeper at the shoe store in O’Neill. She took several college classes on small town business management.

Bud passed away Jan. 10, 1994.  Patty married Paul Banks on April 9, 1998. She then moved to Clearwater where she took under her wing Paul Bank’s adult son Bill. Paul passed away Nov. 7, 2006. 

She and Bill continued to live in Clearwater until 2016 when Bill moved back to Colorado and Patty moved to an apartment in O’Neill. Her health failed in June of 2019 and she moved to the Arbor Care Center in O’Neill.

Patty’s greatest love was her family. She took caring for others as her duty as a Christian woman. She took her four youngest siblings into her home when her mom remarried and moved away. She then raised her own kids, then the grandchildren came around and then the great- and great-great-grandchildren. She loved being “Gramma Pat” and spending time with her family.

She was an accomplished seamstress and over the years made three wedding dresses and many quilts (she never counted how many), most of which she hand-quilted. Many women in the Inman area hired her to sew dresses and do alterations for them. She embroidered and crocheted as well. She loved to cook and she made noodles for family gatherings which her grandsons ate with gusto and always wanted more!

Patty was a member of the United Methodist Church in Inman for 50 years and O’Neill United Methodist Church after she moved to her apartment in O’Neill. In addition, she was a 4-H leader in Inman. She felt it was her duty to care for others and always stepped up if someone needed her. 

One of her most treasured accomplishments was making a birdhouse valance after seeing a picture of it in a magazine. She created the pattern and sewed it, just like the one in the magazine. She was deeply loved by her family and friends and her passing has left a hole in all of their lives.

Patty is survived by her three children Arlie (Diane) Sholes of Omaha, Glen (Jane) Sholes of rural Inman and Kathy (Bill) Grutsch of Hartington; one stepson Bill Banks of Grand Junction, CO; one sister Sharon Caswell of Chadron; 13 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren; and eight great-great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Bud Sholes; her husband Paul Banks; and five siblings Terry Cunningham, Iris Carpenter, Lucy Couch, Eva Comstock and Tom Cunningham. 

Following is a poem written by her grandson Adam for her birthday.

My Grandma Pat

Families, they change, throughout 

the years,

And the best way forward may 

seem unclear.

It’s during these times, I like 

to think back,

To all the good times with my 

Grandma Pat.

From the hugs and the kisses, the eggs and fried chicken,

To the toads and mud holes, the frogs and the fishin’.

My siblings to cousins, I think 

we agree,

Few things are precious as those memories.

So, thanks for that smile and 

your infectious laugh,

But most of all, for just being, 

“My Grandma Pat.”            

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