Glenn S. Banner, 88
October 8, 1933 - June 11, 2022
Glenn Samuel Banner, 88, of Lancaster died on Saturday, June 11, 2022. He was the husband of Dorothy Leithiser with whom he shared 61 years of marriage.
Formerly of Columbia, Glenn graduated in 1951. He was a bank teller at the town’s Central National Bank before enlisting in the United States Navy for four years, serving during the Korean War at the Headquarters of the Third Naval District in New York and later at the Headquarters of the Caribbean Command in the Panama Canal Zone.
Upon discharge he returned to banking before enrolling at Millersville State Teachers College in January of 1957, after being inspired to do so by 12-year-old Wayne Heim, a student in his Sunday School class. Glenn was eventually hired to teach fifth grade in 1960 at the James Buchanan Elementary School in Lancaster. After his second year of teaching, he went right along with his fifth graders into sixth grade, thereby teaching the same students two consecutive years. These youngsters would unknowingly change his career; for in September of 1962, WITF began offering educational programs via television. The Lancaster Township School Board decreed that each class watch one program of the approximately fifty that were offered. Glenn’s students voted and chose a program entitled: Let’s Talk Spanish. Glenn became so interested in the language that he began studying it at F&M, Millersville, Kent State, La Universidad de San Miguel de Allende in Mexico and finally at La Universidad de Valencia in Spain. He later was certified to teach in secondary education, earned a Master’s degree, taught one year at Lancaster Township Jr. High and then moved on to Conestoga Valley High School where he taught more than a thousand wonderful, dedicated students for twenty-two years. One day, near the end of his teaching career, the faculty was called to a meeting to be introduced to their new boss and vice-principal. Glenn almost collapsed when the gentleman was introduced as: Mr. Wayne Heim from nearby Columbia! It was indeed the grown-up version of that same little 12-year-old kid who had inspired him to become a teacher some 30 years previously!
Glenn enjoyed playing softball, baseball and tennis. By age 5 he was playing on the North End playground team and also joined the first “hardball” team placed in an official league by the Columbia Moose Lodge at age 13 and later lettered on the Columbia H. S. varsity. During the summers he played American Legion ball with both Maytown and Marietta. His favorite personal sports memory was winning the Caribbean Command championship against a naval base team having 8,000 men from which to form a team. Glenn’s headquarters base consisted of exactly 36 men, only 13 of whom tried out for the team!
After learning to play tennis in Panama, he continued playing for forty years, coaching both baseball and tennis teams at CV for 18 seasons. His 1975 baseball squad (sparked by Jeff Geyer, Steve Reese and Jim Lilley) won the sectional title.
As a 13-year-old, Glenn was seriously injured in a bicycle accident. Being on crutches for six weeks and unable to play ball in the streets or at the playground with his buddies, out of sheer desperation he picked up his parents’ deck of pinochle cards and began to fashion his own game of baseball. Hearts were hits, diamonds were ground outs, spades were pop fouls and strikeouts, etc. Soon he had his buddies playing the game on the floor of their homes. Several years later he had his navy friends in both New York and Panama caught up in the game. Upon discharge in 1956 the game was never played again … until … 1994 when the big leaguers went on strike! Glenn missed the games so much that he decided to re-do his own game and have all the information placed on professionally printed cards. Brookshire Printers produced it; and Glenn’s wife Dorothy suggested giving the game to local organizations to sell as a fund-raiser. Three different youth groups eventually realized $50,000 from the games!
In the late 1960’s Glenn’s wonderful mother contracted Alzheimer’s Disease; and his religious faith was given such a jolt that he refused to attend church for the next seven years. Then in the mid-70’s a special group of students passed through his classes at CV; and through a student named Doug Myer, he was invited to attend Calvary Church on Christmas Eve to hear the Youth Choir sing. That experience, coupled with a very special Christmas card from Doug, changed his life completely. He began attending Calvary Church the following week, fell in love with the Bible teaching he was hearing, and eventually took courses with three Bible colleges until he finished all 66 books. He then requested Pastor Eric Creighton’s permission to teach adult classes and enjoyed that assignment for 22 years.
In 2013 Glenn was encouraged to put an excerpt of what he considered to be the most important lesson he ever taught onto a DVD. Eric Lee Productions prepared the sound portion, and Deep Focus Pictures (Jonathan Timerell) added incredibly appropriate visual effects. The disc is entitled Nail Prints for Us and may be obtained thru Harvest Bible Church. (717-397-4371)
Eric Lee also provided all the background music and sound effects for Glenn’s Civil War program about the burning of the Columbia-Wrightsville bridge, a power-point program which Glenn presented 430 times in seven different counties of southeastern Pennsylvania. His most memorable event was given in 1994 in the seminary building at Gettysburg, where generals of both armies climbed to the cupola of the building for military observations during the great battle. The Civil War program was an offshoot of Glenn’s novel Flames Across the Susquehanna. He first conceived the book while walking home from teaching elementary school after marveling about how much his fifth graders loved to hear him read to them. It was during that short walk that he determined to write the story about the exciting underground railroad escapades and the cataclysmic Civil War event of the burning of the longest covered wooden bridge in the world, all involving his boyhood hometown of Columbia. Later that night Glenn made arrangements to meet with Dr. John Denney, whom he interviewed just two days later.
After Dr. Denney shared as many remembrances as he could recall of his grandfather’s adventures on the night he and three other fellow citizens contributed to the destruction of the bridge, he telephoned his next-door neighbor, Mr. Emmitt Rasbridge, who was concurrently living in the old Wright Mansion. Historically speaking, this second unexpected interview and tour of the mansion was to cap the most incredible evening of Glenn’s life!
When he was a lad, Mr. Rasbridge’s mother was a close friend of the Wright family, and would take her son with her to visit them on many occasions. The Wrights treated young Emmitt like a son of their own, and he became extremely familiar with every last nook and cranny of the ancient home and former fortress against Indian attacks, even living in the dwelling during his own final years. That night Mr. Rasbridge showed Glenn two of several secret passageways and the hidden room in the basement where people could easily be sequestered even for days, if necessary. Later, on the way home to Lancaster, Glenn remembered how his body was swarming with goose bumps, and declared to himself: “I have got to write this book!”
During the next months Glenn wrote diligently every day, but the results were not to his satisfaction nor to his possible publishers as well. Because of his teaching and Master’s Degree work, he laid his efforts aside and nearly forgot his enterprise until three years after his retirement. After nearly thirty years he rediscovered the old manuscript on a shelf and began to resurrect his dream. He concentrated on developing his characters more thoroughly and added several new scenes, weaving as much action into the story as he could generate.
When he was much happier with the results, his wife Dorothy made it easy. She not only took care of the printing expenses but suggested donating the book to the Columbia Historical Preservation Society and allowing them to market the book as a fund-raiser. Before long Bob and Florence Miller as well as Wayne Von Stetten were taking care of all the details, and the book was in their hands for December 1993 Christmas sales. Not having any idea how the books would sell, they printed 1800 copies, which sold out in just two days! They quickly printed 3200 more, and those sold out in a few months. Now, twenty years later, 25,000 have been printed. The book can still be purchased at either the Columbia or Lancaster County Historical Society buildings.
One of Glenn’s most cherished comments about his book came from a Lancaster County woman speaking to him from her automobile. She asked if he was the author of Flames Across the Susquehanna. After Glenn pled guilty, she remarked: “I just finished reading it on Tuesday. The next morning I was so sorry that I was done with it … I just picked it right back up and started all over again! So there. Just thought you’d like to know.”
It’s been fun writing this, and in closing I’d like to thank anyone and everyone who has spent meaningful time with me along my sojourn in life and shared in the wonderful eight decades the Lord has granted me. My secret wish is that each and every one of you has had, or yet will have, a Doug Myer (or maybe a Janet Myer) walk into your life and help you find your way … to Eternal Life. I fervently hope to see each one of you … in Heaven! (I John 5:13) I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
Surviving Glenn in addition to his wife Dorothy, are several nieces and nephews. Glenn was preceded in death by his parents Samuel Frederick and Ruth Esta (Kreider) Banner, his brother Craig A. Banner, and his sister Lois Hostetter.
A visitation will take place from 10:00 to 11:00 AM, followed by the celebration of Glenn’s life at 11:00 AM, Saturday, July 9, 2022, at Harvest Bible Church with The Rev. Jonathan Walters officiating. Interment will take place 11:00 AM Monday, July 11, 2022, at Laurel Hill Memorial Gardens, Columbia, PA.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Harvest Bible Church, 1460 Eden Road, Lancaster, PA 17601. https://harvestbiblechurch.org/giving/
Glenn would like to extend the invitation if you don’t have a home church, please visit Harvest Bible church and hear Jon Walters preach and teach the Word.
Leave a condolence on this Memorial Page
Condolences to the Family
June 22, 2022
Señor Banner was my favorite teacher of all time. No doubt, he was special, amazingly interesting, and fervent in his love of teaching. He was devoted to his students, caring for their success both in education and for their souls. My heartfelt condolences to the family. Christie Latschar Gregg, CV Class of 1979
June 22, 2022
Mr. Banner was an amazing influence on my life as well as everyone he encountered. I had the privilege to have him as my Spanish home room teacher as well as for class. As freshmen, he told us to start saving for a trip to Spain for our senior year! What a memorable and wonderful time we had! I’ll never forget however, that the trip was in peril of being canceled because of Francisco Franco. To this day I cannot forget the news saying that, ” Francisco Franco is still dead” 😂. We were able to take our trip. 45 years later I can still speak fluent Spanish and am frequently complimented on my accent. This was because of Mr. B’s outstanding teaching. I never had another Spanish course after high school! Every year Mr. B would choose a senior male and female student athlete from his Spanish home room and give them a photo album of their high school sports career. I was blessed to receive my album from him in 1976 and I still cherish it! Outwardly, he presented himself as a humble man driving a Volkswagen Beetle, teaching high school Spanish and coaching. Im so grateful that I was blessed to know him as SO MUCH MORE; a Christian man who dedicated himself daily to his students, his family, his country, and his faith. Thank you for your selfless legacy Sr. Banner. See you in Heaven. J. Nellestein
June 22, 2022
The old adage “a gentleman and a scholar” truly describes Glenn Banner, a Columbia alumni.
During Glenn’s teaching tenure at Conestoga Valley High School on weekends he would convert the basketball floor into a tennis court. It was fun and much appreciated when we played there, improving our game and developing friendship with Glenn and other players.
In 1972 a small group of us formed the Susquehanna Racquet (Tennis) Club and built two tennis courts on the Columbia Water Company grounds. As a fund raiser to cover costs of maintaining the courts and later building two additional ones, we hosted tennis tournments. Glenn would always play in the tournment.
What I remember was this, during the tournment many players would be watching the tennis matches while waiting for their turn to play. Glenn could be found sitting in his car or propped under a tree reading a book, truly a gentleman and a scholar.
RIP my friend, you will be missed.
Thanks for being who you were.
Charles Hershey, Columbia, Pa
June 22, 2022
My heart breaks as I start to write this message. My condolences to the family. Mr. Glenn was a sweet guy. It was my pleasure of having to care for him the past year at Oakleaf Manor South. His stories about his book and his teachings were so interesting to me. The Wrightsville Bridge and him speaking Spanish to me. As I read previous messages of the ones he taught and crossed paths with brought tears and joy to me. He was truly loved past present and forever! Until we meet again Mr. Glenn! You will be missed dearly!!
June 20, 2022
Señor Banner was an inspirational and encouraging teacher. Era tan abierto y apasionado por su fe. Sé que está caminando por calles de oro en este momento. Vickie (Stauffer) Martin (CV class of ’74)
June 19, 2022
The world has lost a truly joyful teacher and a good man. I was lucky to have Mr. Banner one year at CV, but his influence lasted a lifetime. I often told my students that I learned Spanish in high school- one teacher from Mexico, one from Cuba, but the one who taught me the most? From Lancaster county. I’m convinced it was because of the singing. I probably still have the little Canciones songbook. My condolences to the family. Cindy Benner Cornejo
June 19, 2022
Glenn was an inspiration to all learning Spanish and teaching Spanish. I had classes with him at Millersville and also attended the Universidad de Valencia with him. What an honor and a pleasure to have known him! Nancy Zimmerman
June 18, 2022
I am sad to hear of Mr. Banner’s passing. What great memories I have of his Spanish classes and his friendship. I too went to Peru, having to attend private school while there. But I was prepared. I studied Spanish in college, but it was a minor; chemistry was my major. I’ve used my language skills to help my husband communicate with his patients (except to ask if the gallbladder was removed?!). And a Translate for the local food pantry.
Por ejemplo a mí no se me ha olvidado mucho. Hay veces en las que el lenguaje es natural. Espero que los estudiantes del señor Banner pueden leer lo que he escrito y recordar sus clases, la lectura, la conversación, y el canto. Yo espero que puedan hacerlo sonriendo. Gracias señor Banner. Sherry Etter Brown
June 18, 2022
¡Gracias por todo, Sr. Banner! “Bien hecho, buen y fiel sirviente.” ¡Hasta pronto!
June 17, 2022
I had Mr. Banner for a homeroom teacher during his brief stint at LT. I remember him fondly as a kind, patient, and caring man who wore baggy pants and funky fat ties! He always had a smile and an encouraging word.
Jenny (Perry) Engle
June 15, 2022
I was one of the students in the mid-70s to be blessed by Mr. B! I had him as a Spanish teacher and Spanish homeroom teacher for 4 years. Went to Peru as an exchange student due to his influence. Dual-majored in Spanish (and Economics) in college due to his influence. I am in my last year of teaching, and literally every day I think about how Mr B inspired us students to learn, and try to incorporate his enthusiasm, encouragement and teaching style in my classroom. He changed my life. Can’t wait to meet up with him again (in heaven!) 🙂
June 15, 2022
Glenn S. Banner was a great teacher, athlete, friend, & man of God! His life story is a wonderful legacy of Love! I have so many amazing memories of him that I could write for hours describing them! I have thanked God many times for knowing “Mr B.” and for so many life lessons he taught me beyond our 5th and 6th grade classroom. Also, I want to thank Dorothy Banner for sharing her amazing husband with so many of us throughout the years, and Tom Sultzbach for keeping us informed about Mr. B. and coordinating the many awesome events we shared together with our friend and teacher! Joyce and I would like to pass along our deepest sympathies to all who knew and loved Mr. B. Steve Rogers
June 14, 2022
Mr. Banner was a special person, teacher, coach and influence to many fortunate people. Always positive and supportive. Splendid man.
June 14, 2022
It is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to a much beloved teacher. Someone who has touched the heart of so many throughout his 88 year life span. I was one of the lucky students who moved with Glenn from 5th to 6th grade and benefited from his enthusiatic and creative teaching methods for 2 years! I still remember the Spanish store we had and how much Spanish he helped us soak up during those 2 years! He will be greatly missed! There are few teachers so dedicated and so inspiring, and for that he will long remain in his students hearts….
Carol Maurer Stauffer
June 14, 2022
I was saddened to hear about the death of my teacher, coach, and mentor. I was a member of the 5th and 6th grade class at James Buchanan mentioned in the obit. I spent hundreds of hours playing baseball, football and basketball with Mr. B. It is true that we would ask his wife “can Mr Banner can come out and play?” His love of Latin America, Panama, and teaching us Spanish led me into a 37-year career in the Army and the US Government involving Latin American Affairs. Thank you, Mr. Banner; may you rest in peace until we meet again.
Pat St. Clair