Larry Banner (1936 - 2013)

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Larry Shyres Banner
June 4, 1936 - November 28, 2013
Larry Banner entered his eternal rest with the Lord on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 2013.  He died peacefully at home in Modesto, surrounded by his loving family.  He was born in Los Angeles, California to Eldren O Banner and Catherine Gillette LaVette and resided in Modesto for twenty-three years.  His parents and his brother Terrance O Banner preceded him in death.  He is survived by his loving wife of 47 years, Martha Estella Banner, his sons Eric Alexander Banner and Bret Christian Banner, his grandchildren, Emalee Fern Banner and Ryan Christopher Banner, and his sister Sherry Daniels.
Larry's achievements in athletics, education and career are quite numerous and impressive.  He was a person who always beat the odds.  At age seven, Larry was diagnosed with polio, but he was a survivor. He spent almost a year in a wheelchair and later used forearm crutches.  His spine was so deformed that he had to attend special Physical Education classes up to the 10th grade in high school.  These classes met in a gym where he started some tumbling and apparatus stunts that he was able to do since his arms had become incredibly strong after being in a wheelchair and crutches for a year and a half.  By the 11th grade, he was given clearance to participate in sports, so he began to compete in gymnastics, swimming, football and track at Van Nuys High School.  High School Honors:  Competing with all Los Angeles high schools  -Gymnastics gold in Long horse and parallel bars (1954); Selected on the first team all city football team as Defensive Back.  This selection was made from the city's 52 football teams; Swimming: Gold-Van Nuys High School team, Gold - 100 & 200 yd. individual backstroke races; Track and Field (LASDC), Gold-10# Shot put.  He received three Valley league titles.
The following are some honors at the college level:  California Association of Junior College Championships; Gold team LA Valley JC, AA and numerous other events (1955 -'56).  His superior ability was recognized by UCLA and they offered him a scholarship.  Southern Pacific Conference (AKA) Pac 8 Championships: Gold team UCLA, AA and many additional events (1957-1958). The AAU and NCAA designated Larry Banner as an All American gymnast (1961).  Southern Pacific Association of the Amateur Athletic Union:  Gold-AA, (1961-1962).
Olympic Games:  No medal, but Larry had the best American AA score since the first modern games began in 1900 (only a few full gym teams had participated in the Olympic games in the early years), Rome Italy, (1960); Team Captain, Tokyo, Japan, (1964).  World Championships:  In Larry's first international competition, he probably was the first to execute Pummel Horse circles and the "Moore" on the Free Exercise floor.  This was in Moscow in 1958.  He also competed in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1962.  National AAU Championships:  At the Roy E. Moore U.S.A. Gymnastic Championships:  Gold - Team, L.A. Turners Gym Club (1959, 1960 1961). There are many others for individual gold, silver and bronze that are too numerous to mention.
Larry was inducted into the United States Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1993 and was inducted into the World Acrobatic Society - Gallery of Acrobatic Legends in 2011.
His education and work are equally impressive.  He received his BS at UCLA (1958), his General Secondary Teaching Credential at California State University at Northridge (1960), M.A. at California State University at Long Beach (1966), and an Ed.D. at Arizona State University with a major in Clinical Reading Education.  He graduated first in his doctoral class.  He later was honored with an Honorary Ph.D. in psychology.  This was awarded him after completing his internship at Maricopa County Hospital.  Larry's Ph.D. focused on psychometrics.  He worked as a psychometrist, an outpatient clinician, a consultant, and a secondary and university educator.  As a consultant, he worked for school districts, the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of Army-Forces Command where he researched ways in which classroom and field training could complement one another.
Such great achievements at the end of one's life should be noted, but Larry always said that there was no greater honor and blessing than the love of his family and God.  He ran the final race and has now received the greatest treasure - his heavenly crown.  He had a very generous heart and the most beautiful smile.  If someone was in need, he was there. He loved playing golf and going fishing with his sons.  This was a passion for him.  His wife Martha thanks the Lord for giving her such a loving husband for 47 years, and his sons say, "I will miss you Dad (Pop). I love you so much. You are my hero".
The service will be on Wednesday, December 11th:
 Rosary at 10:00am followed by a Funeral Mass at 11:00am at:
St. Stanislaus Catholic Church
1200 Maze Blvd.
Modesto, California 95351
  During his ailing health The Sisters of the Cross of Modesto were a great support and comfort to him and the family. We request that in lieu of flowers, that a memorial donation be made to:
 The Sisters of the Cross
1320 Maze Blvd.
Modesto, California 95351

Published in the Modesto Bee from Dec. 4 to Dec. 7, 2013
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