I met Louis Banks over 20 years ago. One of the springs that lifted my overhead door in the garage had broken. I had no clue who to call, and when talking with a friend, she had mentioned another friend’s brother. Louis came and in no time flat, had taken off the broken spring and put on another one.
Over the years, I’ve called on Louis for so many things. As I’ve written about before, I am an absolute enthusiast for demolition auctions. So when I found an auction with kitchen cabinets that I wanted, Louis was the first person I called. He had certificates in automotive repair, carpentry, and knew a little bit of everything. He was able to take all the cabinets down without destroying them for me to eventually reuse in my own kitchen.
When the belt on my dryer broke, Louis was the one I called to fix it. I did a successful repair on my washing machine, and even though my fix worked, I couldn’t get the outer shell of the machine back down properly on the base. So it was Louis to the rescue.
Whenever I needed a gas line to an appliance replaced, I called on Louis. When I began an insulation project in my basement, it was Louis who I called upon. When I chose to put a lock on my bedroom door because I didn’t like my kids coming in my room when I wasn’t home, it was Louis who put on the deadbolt. Because of all the things he had done for me in the past, his presence is felt in so many ways in my home.
Louis wasn’t just a handyman for me, he was also a friend. When he cut his hand using the saw, I sat in the hospital for hours while the doctors stitched his finger. My basement is filled with memories of him working on a project and me and him just talking, bickering and more often than not, laughing. I think Louis first got sick toward the end of 2019. He called me a couple of times and told me he was in the hospital and would need a lung transplant. He was now on oxygen and couldn’t get out and about.
This past summer, I hired Louis to be an overseer on a project that I had another gentleman doing. Louis arrived looking a little gaunt and carrying his oxygen tank. I was concerned, but Louis assured me he wasn’t putting himself at risk by being here. In fact I saw it with my own eyes. As soon as Louis smelled the sawdust, he livened up. He couldn’t climb ladders but he could still use a saw.
And for my contractor who was working on my house, he had never had such a helper who could automatically make the lumber cuts perfectly. The two of them hit it off like the oldest of buddies as there were a lot of similarities between them — especially their ability to use a circular saw to make any kind of cuts.
I checked on Louis a couple days after Christmas. He was sounding strong and I promised that I would call him in a couple more weeks. Unfortunately, I could never make another call, because early on Jan. 4, Louis experienced heart failure.
Rest in peace, Louis Hoover Banks Jr.