Tommy BANKS

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  • "Growing up in Edmonton,Tommy Banks was a recognized name in..."
    - Susan McCalla
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    - Ralph Thurn

BANKS, Tommy
December 17, 1936- January 25, 2018
It is with profound sadness that the family of Thomas "Tommy" Benjamin Banks announces his passing. After a brief struggle with leukaemia, Tommy died peacefully surrounded by his loving family on January 25, 2018.
Tommy started his life in Calgary, Alberta, later moving to Edmonton, the city that would become his beloved home and the place into which he poured his heart and musical soul. Inspired by two generations of musicians before him, Tommy's passion for music took him out of school at a young age and put him on the road to a full fledged international career in music and entertainment. Throughout his professional life, Tommy contributed to all facets of the arts community in Edmonton and beyond. Canadians fondly remember his television programs from the 1970s and '80s, his countless albums and CDs, as well as numerous appearances with symphony orchestras across North America. His commitment to the community was exemplified in his participation with a multitude of organizations such as CKUA, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Winspear Centre, and Wellspring Foundation.
Tommy was a proud Canadian. In 2000, he was appointed to the Canadian Senate by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, and in his role as senator he performed his duties nobly with great respect for his fellow Canadians. He represented his country graciously and with honour through his numerous endeavors, including the tours with his Juno Award winning big band through Europe, Asia, and North America; the composition of the opening ceremony music for the 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary, Commonwealth Games and Expo '86; and his role in the Canadian Senate.
Though Tommy was a very humble man, his many contributions were acknowledged and recognized. He was awarded the Order of Canada, the Alberta Order of Excellence, an honorary Law Degree from the University of Alberta, the Sir Frederick Haultain Prize, a Juno Award, the SOCAN Special Achievement Award, and many others.
His creativity and love for his profession were only matched by his genuine love and unwavering dedication to his family. Tommy Banks, predeceased by his daughter Toby, is survived by his loving wife of 59 years, Ida; his son, Tom; his daughter Jill Chipman (Kevin); his grandchildren Mallory and Matthew Chipman, Thomas and Jenna Banks; his three brothers Jim (Helen), Terry (Mary), John; and his sister, Wendy Kingston (George).
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Tommy Banks Centre for Musical Creativity and Wellspring Edmonton. A memorial will be announced and held in the coming weeks. The family would like to extend a special thank you to those who have reached out during this difficult time, and to the doctors, nurses, and staff of the University of Alberta and Grey Nuns Hospitals.

Published in The Edmonton Journal on Jan. 30, 2018
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