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George L. Banta

PhotoSubmitted by Michele Hammann, 2005. (Banta-Ryker Family)

George L. Banta, Sr., 91, of Louisville, Ky., died January 27, at University of Louisville Hospital after being hit by a car while riding on his motorized scooter along Springdale Road in Crestwood. He was preceded in death by his wife, Ella Catherine Banta of 51 years. Long-time resident of Louisville's Germantown neighborhood, George, often called “Buzz,” was born in Seymour, Ind., Oct . 5, 1913, and summered in Vevay, Ind. with his grandparents, Oliver and Jessie Banta. While at Highland Middle School he ran track; he went on to Manual High School. In 1975, he retired from the Penn Central Railroad after serving as an engineer for 33 years. During his tenure with the railroad, he ran Locomotive No. 8910, the last engine to cross connecting Louisville and Jeffersonville, Ind. before it closed in 1969. Additionally, George served as the fireman on board “The General,” Locomotive No. 39 and No. 3, after her refit by L & N as she was moved out of the rail yard for the Civil War Centennial in 1962. He remained a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and served as a Kentucky Colonel since 1985. His survivors include five sons, George L., Jr., Robert E., of Simsbury, Conn., Richard B., Philip L. and Gregory P. Banta; two daughters, Michele Hammann of Fort Myers, FL., and Callista Raisor; a long-time companion Mae Karger; eight grandsons; 10 granddaughters; 13 great-grandsons; and six great-granddaughters and many friends at Atria Springdale community. His funeral mass was celebrated at the Catholic Church of the Epiphany with burial in St. Michael Cemetery. Expressions of sympathy may be made to Hospice & Palliative Care of Louisville and Home of the Innocents.