Glen E. Banner, 76, Kokomo, passed away at 7:23 a.m. Friday, March 1, 2013, at Fairmont Rehabilitation Center. Glen was born Dec. 13, 1936, in Kokomo, to the late William Ernest and Virginia Audrey Banner (Wynn). He attended Palmer Elementary School, Central Junior High School and graduated from Kokomo High School in 1954. He attended Indiana University Kokomo and Butler University, earning a B.A. degree in journalism, history and political science in 1965. He attended post-graduate classes in political science at Butler in 1966. Glen enlisted in the U.S. Navy during the latter part of the Korean Conflict. As a Navy hospital corpsmen, he attained the rate of first class petty officer, serving at Great Lakes Naval Training Station, Pensacola Naval Hospital and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
After graduation from Butler, he was commissioned an ensign as a public affairs specialist in the U.S. Naval Reserve. During his 39 ½ years tenure in the Navy and Naval Reserve, he saw duty in the Pentagon, various Norfolk commands, the Naval Research Center at Carderrock, Md., USNR Headquarters in New Orleans, as well as tours of duty in Spain, The Azores, Italy, North Africa and Sicily. CDR Banner was commanding officer of Public Affairs Unit 9-1 and the Naval Reserve Internal Affairs Units in Indianapolis. He taught at the Defense Information School at Fort Benjamin Harrison and was its deputy commanding officer for Reserve and National Guard summer training.
In 1986, he returned at active duty at the rank of commander, assigned the headquarters of the Atlantic Command and NATO Forces in Norfolk, VA. For the next two years, he worked on special computer programs designed for planning military maneuvers, earning the Department of Defense Meritorious Medal for his work. He helped formulate plans for Desert Storm and a peaceful invasion of Haiti.
In his sophomore year of high school, he went to work in the circulation department of the Kokomo Tribune and served as a circulation supervisor in that area for four years. After returning from active duty in the Navy, from 1961 to 1981, he worked as a reporter, photographer and editor at the Tribune. His fields of writing included police and court reporting, military affairs, environmental pieces and local history, including his column, “A touch of Nostalgia”. During his tenure at the Tribune, he won nine major writing and photography awards, included one in the 1970s awarded by the Society for Professional Engineers for the 15-part series on alternative forms of energy.
From 1961 to 1981, he also served as the paper’s auto racing editor, designing its Indianapolis 500 tabloids for 19 years. In 1970 to 1972, he worked weekends as a photographer for the United States Auto Club and was a USAC official in the capacity of public relations for its Sprint and Championship Dirt Divisions from 1973 through the 1980 season.
Glen was a member of the Indianapolis 500 Oldtimers, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Indiana Historical Society, Kokomo Exchange Club, Sigma Delta Chi and American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association, serving as Midwest vice president. Glen, along with his wife Charla, founded Features Unlimited, specializing in public relations and advertising. He was also editor of two weekly newspapers in Kokomo, The Community Messenger and the Kokomo Perspective, which he helped Don Wilson establish. Glen and Charla also worked in the press room at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, providing the press with daily reports in 1984.
Survivors include a son, Timothy Banner and wife, Angie; a daughter, Melody Webster and husband, Kris; grandchildren, Payton and Parker Banner and Thomas Webster. He was preceded in death by his parents, along with his wife Charla, who passed away Feb. 27, 2011.
Visitation will be from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church 3155 S. 200 West, Kokomo. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11 a.m. also at the church. Burial will take place in North Union Cemetery in Howard County. Memorials may be made to the church, St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church. Envelopes will be provided. There will be full military honors provided by the U.S. Navy and the Kokomo Military Rites team.