Obituary: Gordon Banks

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Gordon Banks, 78, died Friday, Nov. 27, 2009 of a brief but severe case of pneumonia. He was born February 2, 1931 in Toronto, Canada.

When he was a small child, his family moved back to England, settling in Birmingham. Gordon went to trade school to be a carpenter and later served in the Royal Air Force, but his duties were primarily playing soccer. At age 20, he and his family came to America on the Queen Mary.

He met his wife of 52 years, Antje, in Connecticut at the German Club where he played soccer. In 1960, the family moved to Pomona where Gordon worked as a carpenter and later as a superintendent. Being a soccer fanatic, he joined a newly forming organization, American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO). After moving to Tustin in 1972, Gordon started the AYSO program there and served as its regional commissioner.

Gordon was a self-taught artist, mostly painting landscapes with acrylics. He liked to share his talent and love of painting with children, and was a volunteer artist at Idyllwild School with the PTA smARTS program. He also did odd jobs around the school, like the paintings in the multipurpose room, building display platforms in the lunch area and constructing fences for youth gardens and the Junior Garden Club shed. He was a member of the ROMEO group (Retired Old Men Eating Out).

He is survived by his wife, Antje, of Idyllwild; son, Keith Banks and family of Perris; son, Peter Banks and family of Tustin; son, Derek Banks and family of Watsonville; daughter, Wendy Read and family of Idyllwild; brother, Cyril Banks and family of Claremont; and nine grandchildren.

Gordon was the lucky recipient of a kidney transplant in 1986, so the family asks that in lieu of flowers, consider the gift of life and be an organ donor.

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