A volunteer firefighter for 26 years, Phillip L. Banasiak passed away on Friday. Banasiak had been the fire chief for the Bass Lake Fire Department for eight years and dedicated his life to saving others. In 2011, however, Banasiak went through one of the hardest ordeals of his life after he was diagnosed with complications from prostate cancer.
Banasiak had gone to bed on Sept. 10 feeling fine, but when he woke up, he said he was paralyzed from the waist down. His family immediately took him to IU Health Starke Hospital, where he was then flown to South Bend Memorial. Doctors performed tests that detected tumors on his spine and other locations, causing the paralysis.
Banasiak battled the disease for nearly a year and a half before passing away on Friday, Jan. 25 at the age of 59. He is survived by his daughters, Kelly Powell of Argos and Tracy Habrel of Seattle; two sisters, Gloria Piarowski of Knox and Lois Koch of Chicago; a brother, Richard Banasiak of Chicago; and three grandchildren.
Visitation will be Friday, Feb. 1 from 4–8 p.m. with a Fire Service Memorial Service at 7 p.m. at M.C. Smith Funeral Home. Funeral services will be Saturday, Feb. 2 at 11 a.m. at M.C. Smith Funeral Home. Interment will take place at Round Lake Cemetery. Memorials in his memory may be made to the Bass Lake Fire Department Scholarship Fund.