Hercules Manufacturing Company, manufacturer of custom insulated and dry freight truck bodies, is grieving the loss of Joe Banna, retired president and president emeritus of the company. He was 78.
“He did an awesome job growing our company over the period of 40 years of service,” said Jeffrey A Caddick, CEO/owner of Hercules. “When Mr Banna joined Hercules in the late ‘60s, we were building five bodies a week on average. Now we build four to five bodies a day, which is a testament to the customer relationships that Joe cultivated, and the manufacturing team that Joe assembled.”
A Catholic born in Israel of Armenian-Syrian descent, Banna arrived in America passing thru Ellis Island in spring 1960 to study at Campbellsville College from 1960-1964.
From 1964-66, Banna was employed by Central Grocery, Flint MI, and from 1966-69 he was employed by Vesley Company, LaPeer MI.
Banna was hired by George Caddick, longtime president of Hercules, in 1969 as vice president of operations, and in 1993 Banna was named president, serving until his retirement in December 2009.
When Banna joined Hercules, the metal needed for manufacturing truck bodies was fabricated at Evansville Sheet Metal rather than in-house, so a lot of money was going out the door. Banna brought to Hercules experience from his years with Vesley Company, which manufactured Apache pop-up camping trailers. Banna persuaded Caddick to purchase the equipment to allow the company to perform metal fabrication in-house. Banna also oversaw Hercules relocation from an old plant on Main Street in Henderson KY to new facilities on Adams Street and Bob Posey Street in Henderson.
Perhaps more important is the personal relationship Banna formed with customers, never promising anything he couldn’t do, being upfront and correcting anything that did not meet customer expectations.
Upon his retirement in 2009 after 40 years of service, Jeffrey A Caddick appointed Banna president emeritus of Hercules, a role he filled until his death.
Banna is preceded in death by his brother Henry Youssef Banna (Samia) and his parents Mary Masri Banna and Youssef Elias Banna, and his father and mother in law W C and Pinkie Sinclair. Banna is survived by his wife of 55 years, Lewellyn Sinclair Banna; his daughter Leanne Banna-Pritchett and son-in-law Steve Pritchett; grandson Chase Pritchett; his brothers Steve and J C Nassim Banna; sisters Siham Banna (Tony) and Afaf Masri; his sister-in-law, Paula Sutton; brother- in-laws, J P “ Butch” Sinclair, Eddie Sinclair, W C “Bill” Sinclair; along with many nieces, great-nieces, nephews and great-nephews.
There will be no visitation or funeral at his request. A private memorial service for family and close friends will be held later. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts are asked to be directed to St Anthony’s Hospice, the School of Fine Arts (SoFA) Foundation Endowment Fund through the Community Foundation of Henderson.