3 Generations of Mr. Munro’s Descendants (and Counting)
AT THE NORTH END OF Lake Washington, tucked beside the mouth of the Sammamish River, sits a humble airport. It has sat there ever since Bob Munro founded Kenmore Air in 1946 with two high school friends.
What started out as a one hangar, single seaplane company has grown into a thriving multi-faceted business. Today — 75 years later — picnic tables serve as departure “gates”; employees park among company aircraft, and, Munro’s descendants have been raised — quite literally. The original family home still stands at the westernmost edge of the five-acre campus where Munro and his wife Ruth raised their three children, Leslie Banks, Gregg Munro and Margie Munro.
“One of my first jobs here was mowing the grass parking lot where the planes were parked,” recounted Gregg.
While Bob passed in 2000, his legacy lives on. The multi-faceted business he created — including an airline, maintenance department, and parts supply business — celebrates its 75th year and remains a place where family is ingrained in the very culture.
Three generations of Munro descendants can now be found working as a cohesive unit. Leslie keeps her hand in operations in the office and Gregg still enjoys flying to his favorite destinations.
Leslie’s son, Todd Banks, officially joined the company in 1992 and became the company president 15 years ago. Banks’ sister, Allison Russell, works in the company’s accounting department. Banks’ wife, Jayne, is the merchandise manager for the company’s gift shop. And, three of Munro’s great-grandchildren are currently members of the line crew: Hunter Banks, Mason Banks, and Logan Russell.
“This is my son Logan’s first summer. Seeing him out there, working on the docks like I did, is amazing,” said Allison.
Working the line has long been a rite of passage in the airline industry. It’s how most pilots get their foot in the door. But at Kenmore Air, washing windows and fueling planes offers more than just career development. It helps instill the patriarch’s motto — doing the right thing — into the company culture.
“When you do the right thing, you treat people like family. And to us, employees and customers are part of the Kenmore Air Family,” explained Todd.
Patriarch & Matriarch: Bob and Ruth Munro
Youngest Family Member: Mason Banks (17)
Commercial Pilot Licenses: 2
Private Pilot Licenses: 4
Favorite Local Restaurant: Acapulco Fresh
Does the family have a favorite plane?
“Six Six Zulu. It’s the second de Havilland Beaver my dad purchased and it was his favorite. He flew it everywhere, including his famous glacier flights.” — Leslie Banks