Wesley Vernon Banse, Sr. age 91, of Scotland Neck, NC, formerly of Manasquan, NJ, went to be with his Lord on October 22, 2010 at Tarboro, North Carolina from complications of Parkinson’s Disease. Born in Camden, NJ on Oct 8, 1919, he had lived in the New Jersey towns of Cross Keys, Little Silver, Bordentown, Long Branch, Collingswood, Magnolia, Manasquan, and Wall, before moving to North Carolina in 2002.
A veteran of World War II (1941-1945) he served in the United States and Europe as a Master Sergeant. He achieved rank of Lt. Colonel during 28 years as a staff officer, training New Jersey National Guardsmen. He was instrumental in the organizing of companies and battalions of New Jersey’s post-war 50th Armored Division, completing his total of 33 year’s service as Commandant of the New Jersey Military Academy, Sea Girt. The Academy trained and prepared candidates for commission as officers or appointment as non-commissioned officers.
His career included completion of resident officer courses at the Armored School, Fort Know, KY, an advance Intelligence Officer course, Fort Holabird, MD, and Command and General Staff instruction at Fort Rodman, MA, Fort Sill, OK, and at Indiantown, PA. A 1937 graduate of Long Branch High School, he also gained an associate degree in Journalism from Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, NJ in 1976. In 1963 he served a three-month active duty tour of Fort Dix as a representative of the National Guard Bureau, Washington, DC, insuring proper and adequate handling of National Guard enlistees serving their required six months of basic training.
He was a reporter and an administrator for Manasquan’s weekly newspaper, The Coast Star, simultaneously serving 20 years as official historian for that borough. Additionally, he developed slide presentations titled ‘Monmouth Revisited’, customizing each of the more than 150 shows to reflect the history of each coastal town along the Monmouth County oceanfront. Over a ten-year period, he crafted shows for both juvenile and adult history instruction.
Wesley Banse was one of the organizers, a charter member, and life member of the Squan Village Historical Society and served prominently on Manasquan’s Centennial Celebration Committee. One of his contributions for that event was to edit a 300 page illustrated history of the town. He also maintained memberships in several state and local historical organizations. During his sojourn in North Carolina, he was a member of the American Legion, Post #34.
Prior to a fire which destroyed the Squan Village Historical Society’s offices and museum in the vintage Manasquan’s Railroad Station, Col. Banse kept office hours there, assisting genealogists, many of whom came from other states. He was an authority on the town’s growth and wrote or provided research for a number of articles published in ‘The Squan Chronicles’. He was also one of a group who salvaged what could be saved from the fire debris. He became a noted collector of Jersey Shore area history and in 2001 was honored as a recipient of the ‘Jane G. Clayton’ award for his ‘significant contributions to the preservation and dissemination of the history of Monmouth County’.
Born in Camden, NJ, he was one of five sons of the Rev. and Albert L. Banse, both deceased. His brothers Warren J, Cross Keys, NJ; Albert O, Ruthsburg, MD; and Charles M., Blairs, VA have all predeceased him. A younger brother, Paul L. (a.k.a. Alan Paul Curtis) lives in Morrisville, VT.
An active member of First Baptist Church, Manasquan, from 1964, he served on various church boards and commissions and in 1999 was named Deacon Emeritus. In 1979, he was responsible for the completion of a 200-page book commemorating the church’s 175th anniversary. At the time of his death he had completed a three-volume book on the life of his wife and himself as a typical post-World War II American couple in the 20th century. Married 57 years to the former Grace Glenn Fortune of West Collingswood, NJ, she pre-deceased him in 1998.
Survivors include a daughter and son-in-law, Carole S. Banse-Doyon and Paul K. Doyon, Scotland Neck, NC; and a son, Glen F. Banse ( Marilyn E.), Brick, NJ. Also surviving him is Linda K. Banse, widow of his son Wesley, Jr, and Dolores M. Banse, Wesley, Jr’s former wife. Also six grandchildren and11 great-grandchildren. Special appreciation goes to his special caregivers who provided him with loving care: Gloria Wiggins Smith, Eva Edmond, Vanessa Wiggins, Patricia Powell, Shirley Chavis, Almeda Wiggins, Linda Hanson, and Geneva Alexander.
All funeral arrangements are under supervision of the Sykes Funeral Service of Rich Square, NC and Neary-Quinn Funeral Home, South St. Manasquan, NJ.