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Julia McCook Banning

1926 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
June 15, 1926 - April 19, 2016 Julia McCook Banning, better known as Judy, died on Tuesday, April 19, 2016. She is survived by her children John and his wife Sheila, Julia (Shelley), Joe and his wife Lisa, Ned and his wife Laura, and Ellen Anderson; grandchildren Katharine (husband Cory), Brittney (husband Steven), William, Aaron, Alexander, Maxwell and great-grandchild, August; as well as her sister Marie McCook Cooper and sisters-in-law Elizabeth Banning Ames and Joan Bridge Banning. Judy was born to George Anson McCook and Marie Converse McCook on June 15, 1926 in Westwood, MA where they were spending the summer away from their home in Pasadena, CA. As a child she attended the Westridge School in Pasadena until the eighth grade. Her high school years were spent at Milton Academy in Milton, MA where she flourished, graduating with distinction in 1945. At Milton she developed self-confidence, public speaking skills and critical thinking that served her well throughout her life. Although Judy had been accepted at Vassar College in upstate New York, circumstances resulting from World War II brought her back to the west coast where she enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley in the fall of 1945. Back in Pasadena during Christmas break, she first met Hancock (Bill) Banning III and late in 1946, at another Christmas party, they started formally dating. Bill graduated in June of 1947 and returned to southern California to commence his professional career. A year later, Judy transferred from Berkeley and moving back in with her mother in Pasadena, attended the Chouinard Art Institute (presently known as the California Institute of the Arts), in Los Angeles where she studied clothing design. Judy and Bill were married July 16, 1949 at the Church of Our Savior in San Gabriel, CA and lived in South Pasadena until 1958. The family of seven then moved to Santa Monica where they lived until 1962, then on to Balboa, CA until 2005. She completed her college education and graduated from the University of California at Irvine in June of 1974 with a degree in History. Bill and Judy eventually purchased a retreat in northwest Montana where the family continues to gather each summer, and in their later years, relocated to the Covington, a senior community in Aliso Viejo, CA. Judy was a devoted wife, mother and friend. In raising her children, she consistently encouraged self-reliance, perseverance and responsibility with chores, games, arts and crafts. She was a constant companion with Bill in their varied pursuits be it coastal camping in Baja California, backpacking in the Sierras, beach outings, tennis, sailing, and in their later years, international travel. Throughout her life Judy was an active volunteer and participated in many civic and philanthropic organizations, including the Junior League, Harbor Day School, the Friends of the Newport Beach Library and the Library Board of Trustees, the Newport Harbor Service League, the UC Irvine Arboretum and the Board of Directors of Planned Parenthood Association of Orange County, serving in the 1980's as Board President. A prolific gardener Judy belonged to the Diggers Garden Club in Pasadena, the Garden Rakes in Santa Monica and was a founding member of the Little Garden Club in Newport Beach. Also, she was a docent at the Botanical Gardens at the Huntington Library and at the Sherman Library and Gardens. Judy had a natural gift of floral design, enhanced by continuous practice and study, including a course at the Washington Cathedral in DC. She was devoted to her local Episcopal churches' altar guilds, where she also trained others in the art of flower arranging. In addition to flower arrangements for the Los Angeles Diocesan Cathedral, Judy created beautiful embroidered vestments. Judy's was a life marked with a strong faith in Jesus Christ, an easy going grace and uncommon decency. She will be remembered for her wit and charm, concern for others, and that trademark smile - warm and engaging, slightly bent with a hint of mischief. The family will hold a private memorial gathering at a future date. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the KIPP Foundation (http:///www.kipp.org), a nationwide non-profit organization promoting educational excellence.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Apr. 24, 2016
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