Zelma Mae Banks, a long-time resident of Margate, Florida and Andover, Massachusetts, passed away peacefully in her sleep on Monday, June 18, 2012 at the home of her son and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond E. Banks in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where she had been residing. Zelma Banks was ninety-one.
Zelma was born on September 25, 1920 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania to Raymond Earl Brown and Iverda Mae (Campbell) Brown. The middle of three sisters, Zelma was raised in Johnstown with her older sister, Dorothy, and her younger sister Ruth. Following the outbreak of the second World War and shortly after her graduation from Johnstown High School, Zelma Banks went to support the war effort as a civil service sheet metal worker from 1941 to 1945 at the Charlestown Navy Yard. Like the famous American icon "Rosie the Riveter," Zelma was one of the American women who inspired a social movement that increased the number of working American women from 12 million to 20 million. On April 16, 1946 she married the love of her life, William Francis Banks, a United States Marine who had been decorated with the Purple Heart for his service during World War II in the East Asia Pacific.
Following the war, Zelma worked in Massachusetts as a waitress and manager at Rodgers Restaurant and the Oar and Anchor in North Reading and then as a group leader at Transitron Electronic Corporation in Wakefield, and a supervisor at Honeywell Corporation in East Boston. In 1955, Zelma and Bill built a beautiful residence on Wildwood Road in Andover that became a joyous family gathering place for three decades. Their home was a solace of love and family that was featured in local papers for the beautiful Christmas decorations that they offered to their family, friends and the local community.
Zelma was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend, who was deeply committed to her family and friends. She was an avid swimmer whose hobbies included raising rescue poodles, entertaining, travel, cooking, playing cards and bingo. She will be remembered foremost for her love of family and her central role in bringing people together. She represented the finest in family values and she will be missed by all who know her.
Zelma is predeceased by her husband, William Francis Banks and her sister Dorothy Evelyn (Brown) Nelson.
She is survived by her son Raymond Edward Banks of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and his wife Patricia; her grandson Steven Allen Banks of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; her sister Ruth Elizabeth (Brown) Beecher of Margate, Florida; her niece Barbara Iverda (Beecher) Ensslin of Paris, France and her husband Robert; her nephew William Gordon Beecher of Garland, Texas and his wife Darlene; and her poodle BiBi.
Arrangements: Services will be held at the Kraeer Funeral Home at 1 North State Road 7 in Margate, Florida 33063. Visitation will take place on Friday, June 22 from 4:00PM to 7:00PM. The funeral service will be held at Kraeer on Saturday, June 23 from 10:00AM to 11:00AM. Additional information can be found under "Obituaries and Services" at Kraeermargate.com. Interment will be at Forest Lawn Cemetery on Copans Road (immediate family only).
For those who wish to donate to a charity in lieu of flowers, they may visit www.Arthritis.org or www.HumaneSociety.org or www.cokesburymargate.org.
Zelma's family wishes to thank Marylou and Krimelda for their loving care during her last years at the Laurels of Margate and the team at Amedisys Hospice Services of South Carolina who cared for Zelma in the last week of her life.
She will be greatly missed by all those she touched in her life and who love her dearly.