In Memory of




Obituary for (Mary) Evelyn Banning

After a loving and devoted family life, (Mary) Evelyn Banning (nee Avelina Marie Pierre O’Connor) passed away peacefully, on September 5, 2023, in the arms of her daughter Cathy, at their warm and welcoming family home on North Brodie Street.
Evelyn was born on May 28, 1925, in Fort William Ontario to parents Elizabeth (nee Pierre-Mejakiassang) and Joseph-Niijode O’Connor. Evelyn grew up in Fort William First Nation, with her parents and two brothers: Cyril Pierre and Joseph O’Connor Jr. Sadly they lost both their parents at very young ages and at 8 years old Ma was sent to live with her Aunty Josephine (nee Pierre-Mejakiassang) and Uncle John Huard in Winnipeg Manitoba. At 18 years old Ma returned to Fort William and during World War II, Evelyn was an Original “Rosie the Riveter” riveting the wings of fighter planes at Canada Car. On May 12, 1945, Evelyn married Frank (Frances Fasano) Banning and together they welcomed 11 children-7 sons and 4 daughters. Evelyn had a full life together with the love of her life Frank, enjoying their homes on Fort William First Nation-Chippewa Park and North Brodie Street. She was very active with St Patrick’s Cathedral, St Patrick’s Catholic Women’s League, St Patrick’s Choir, and of course many charitable organizations that she assisted with fund raising. Ma lived an extraordinary life caring for her family and so many others that soon became “Banning wanna-be’s”, she has earned her Mom-Phd and we are forever grateful for her. Ma adored spending time with children and made sure to pray for and attend the services of the Fallen Feathers. Many people have described Ma as a “living breathing Angel” walking on earth she truly was “one of God’s good ones”.
Evelyn-Ma is survived by her loving children Roy(Jerri), Keith(Karen), Rodney(Celeste), Gloria(Don), Lynda(Armand), Kevin(Janet), Mark, Kelly(Don), Cathy(Regis) and Larry(Jolene) along with 42 grandchildren, 50 great grandchildren and numerous great-great grandchildren. Evelyn is also survived by many nieces and nephews along with the whole membership of Fort William First Nation for whom she was “everybody’s Auntie”. Evelyn was predeceased by her loving husband Frank, son Steve, grandsons Stephen, Leonard and Donald, Elijah(Bud) MacLaurin, granddaughter Amber Anderson, parents Elizabeth(nee Pierre-Mejakiassang) and Joseph-Niijode O’Connor, two brothers Cyril Pierre and Joseph O’Connor Jr, her in-laws May and Jacob Bannon, daughter-in-heart Karin Banning and many sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law and cousins.
We are grateful to all the family and friends for their care and compassion shown to Ma during the final years of her 98 year life. As per her wishes she was able to remain in our family home, but it was only with the help of many that we could provide these last wishes for her. Special thanks to the staff at the LHINS/CCAC, Paramed and Bayshore for helping Ma remain at home.
Visitation will be from 6-8pm on Monday, September 11, 2023, with Prayers and Anishinaabe Ceremony at 7pm at the Blake’s Funeral Chapel. Funeral will be held on Tuesday, September 12, 2023, at 11am at St. Patrick’s Cathedral 211 Archibald Street S. Thunder Bay Ont. If friends should so desire, donations can be made to The Friends of Chippewa Park or the “St. Pat’s Hat” Roof Fund (St Patrick’s Cathedral).