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Lesley (Otto) Banks

Arthur resident Lesley (Otto) Banks died April 17, 2021, in the presence of loving family. She was born in Decatur, Illinois, on October 30, 1964.

She was immensely proud of her daughter, Aerielle Brianne (Banks) Wood and son-in-law, John-Tyler Wood of Troy, Illinois. She is also survived by her sister, Julie A. Michl of Arthur, one nephew, David James Michl of Arthur, Uncle David Neil Lewis of Terre Haute, Aunt Charlene Gorby in San Antonio, Texas, cousin Vickie L. Henry and her family, Claire, Lucy, and George Humphrey of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, and cousins Steve Hoffner, Mike Hoffner, Jil Gorby and Cindy Streiby.

Banks was preceded in death by her parents, David E. Otto and Marjorie Ann Lewis Otto, Aunts Patricia Kay Lewis, and Patricia Hoffner, Uncles George Leatherman and Jack Gorby and her grandparents.

Banks graduated from Arthur High School in 1982 and from Illinois State University in 1986 with a Bachelor’s Degree in English Education and Political Science. Banks taught high school English and Journalism for 34 years in Illinois, Missouri, and Oklahoma. She retired from Sullivan High School in 2019. Her passion for being an educator was clear and she cared deeply for each student she had the opportunity of teaching, even the ones who gave her a few extra grey hairs. She was especially proud when her students won national awards for their yearbooks and newspapers.

In her honor, she encourages everyone to revisit her favorite books, The Great Gatsby, Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman, and King Lear; read a real newspaper; or contemplate the teachings of Thoreau.

Memorials are requested to the Arthur Southern Baptist Church, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society.

A memorial visitation will be held Saturday, May 1, 2021, at Shrader Funeral Home in Arthur, Illinois, from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM with a celebration of life service starting at 3:00 PM. Interment will immediately follow at the Arthur Cemetery.

Those attending the services are asked to bring their favorite memory to share with the family, especially her students.

Due to recent Covid 19 restrictions, face masks and social distancing are required.

Online condolences to the family may be sent to

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