June 2017 – Exclamation Points!

Neil Andrew Banfield.
January 3, 1924 – May 7, 2017
Photo by Nesossi Studios.

Eternal Blossoms –

One of my absolute favorite gentlemen left us last month at 93 years young. Neil Andrew Banfield was nominated as a GEM of Fort Bend in 2014, and when I wrote about him, I called him a “dapper, quick-witted young man known for his generous spirit, kindness and just plain willingness to help.” No matter what the call — whether it was his church, a non-profit needing auction items, a community needing a dedicated school board member or the frantic call from a young mother needing advice — Neil was always ready to help.

Several years ago, when my daughter Kassidi was in sixth grade, she came home and said that she wanted to participate in the Science Fair at school and determine how different liquids impacted plant growth. Well, for those of you who know me, you know that I cannot grow anything – other than hair. It was winter, Home Depot wasn’t as prominent as it is now, and I had no idea how to gather the appropriate materials – or even what they were – for Kassidi to get started on this project. Historically, the most gorgeous home on Mons Avenue with the most incredible flowers was, of course, the home of the Banfields. A farmer his entire life, Neil was a well-known botanist with an admirable green thumb. I called him at the house and explained my dilemma. Neil immediately told me to go buy tomato plants, where to find them and explained which liquids would yield drastically different results. I followed Neil’s instructions to the letter and passed them along to Kassidi. The day for the Science Fair came about two weeks later. Kassidi presented her project and won a blue ribbon. I called Neil that afternoon to tell him about bringing home the “blue.” His response: “Well, of course she did.”

Neil’s positivity is what I will miss the most. Throughout the years, I was blessed by him as he was one of my biggest cheerleaders. No matter on what committee I served, with which community event I assisted or what magazine I produced, Neil always had something positive to say. He was a GEM, and I know he is already making heaven an even more beautiful place tending the gardens of eternal blossoms.

Stay focused and most of all, positive. And take a moment to stop and smell the roses.