Obituary: Maude Erskine Banta

DELRAY BEACH — Maude Erskine Banta — gardener, volunteer and enthusiastic letter writer — died at her home on May 15. She was 97.
10530556885?profile=RESIZE_180x180Maude Erskine was born Aug. 13, 1924, in Brooklyn, New York, to James Douglas Erskine and Marguerite Maxwell Ogilvie. She was the oldest of three sisters and was raised in a loving multigenerational home. She was a lifelong Dodgers fan, even after they left her hometown.
She graduated from Packer Institute in Brooklyn and attended Wells College in Aurora, New York.
During a family summer vacation, she caught a glimpse of a handsome redhead and knew she had met her future husband, John Stuart Banta. The couple wed in October 1943 and were married for 57 years.
Maude worked at The Colony hotels in Maine and Florida, splitting the year going north and south, as a director of purchasing. She also prepared flower arrangements for the lobby, dining rooms and for guests with extended stays, and wrote the Colony newsletters. Mrs. Banta was dedicated to the family’s hotels and worked well into her 80s.
Mrs. Banta was a devout Christian who was on the altar guild at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Kennebunkport, Maine, and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Delray Beach. She traveled with her church group to Honduras to help girls in need.
She was a docent at the Morikami Museum in Delray Beach and the Taylor-Barry House in Kennebunk.
Mrs. Banta was dedicated to health and wellness before it was in vogue, playing tennis or golf throughout the year. She and her husband could be seen pedaling their bikes through downtown Delray to the tennis courts. In her later years she swam laps daily.
Maude traveled throughout her life and shared her travels with her family through her keen photography and written journals. She was an avid gardener and an environmentalist at heart who could be found many afternoons with a basket of flowers draped over her arm.
She is survived by her loving family: her sister, Margot Atwood; her daughter, Carol Banta Walker; her son, John Erskine Banta; her five grandchildren, John Edward Martin, Hilary Martin Roche, Paige Martin, Aloveiz Heredic and Nick Banta; her goddaughter, Barbara Backer; her four great-grandchildren — who fondly called her GG — and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Mrs. Banta was an avid writer of letters to family and friends, and occasionally to people she hardly knew. Her letters were full of humor and details and could brighten the recipients’ days. In lieu of flowers, please write a letter to a friend or family member.
A memorial service was held May 24 at St. Paul’s.

— Obituary submitted by the family

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