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Thurml Banks's Online Memorial Photo

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Memorial Biography

Thurml L. Banks, MD of San Rafael died peacefully on March 19, 2013, shortly after celebrating his 90th birthday on March 2nd. He was surrounded by loved ones.

Thurml was the youngest of six children born to Boston and Susie Banks in Bolee, Oklahoma. He attended public schools, graduating from Seminole County Public School in 1937 and with honors as class Valedictorian from Douglass High School in 1941. His excellence earned him a scholarship to Iowa State University, which he attended for one year before interrupting his studies to enlist in the service for three years.

Throughout his life, work and educational career, Thurml displayed an uncanny knack for creativity in generating funds and achieving his goals. In spite of adversity and discrimination, he never gave up on anything and along the way, became a loved and respected, successful pioneer, mentor, educator, husband and father. Thurml's educational journey included three years military service, and brief stints at Iowa State and Texas A &M before earning his Bachelor's Degree in Animal Husbandry from Langston University in 1953. He then went on to earn his medical degree from Meharry Medical College in 1960. Thurml was the first African-American person to enter Mount Zion Hospital's residency program in San Francisco, after which he established a successful medical practice in Obstetrics and Gynecology that spanned 35 years and over 7,000 live births.

Thurml was a decorated medical instructor at UCSF and enjoyed hospital privileges at many hospitals throughout San Francisco. He was the recipient of the Outstanding Teacher Award at Children's Hospital as well as the Golden Bagel Award at Mount Zion. Thurml believed in giving back. His generosity was apparent as he gave happily and often to charities, events, foundations, family, friends of family and the men and women who work the service industry. He had an interest in social issues and was a staunch supporter of Obama for America.  In addition, Thurml was active on numerous committees and boards over the years including several committees of the San Francisco Medical Society, The Board of Directors of the SF Symphony, The Children's Home Society, Sunny Hills Children's Services and the Minority Adoption Society.

Thurml loved his work, his life and his family. He had a great love for babies, young children and animals. He was at his happiest when surrounded by the laughter of his grandchildren, his beloved dog on his lap. Thurml also enjoyed planting and tending gardens, particularly tomatoes and bougainvilleas, smoking meats and barbequing and watching the 49ers drive for the Superbowl.

Thurml is survived by his two daughters, Lynn Gornick, and Toni Sander; four grandchildren: Sage Wheelan Gornick, Blase Gornick, Jordan Sander and Tristan Sander; nieces and nephews: Cheryl Wells, Boston Banks III, Corwyn Banks, Adrienne Powell; several other nieces and nephews and his best friend Pringl Miller.

Thurml is predeceased by his wife, Joyce Banks (1991); siblings:  Forest Banks (1993), Verdell Bennett (1994), Charleszetta Banks Doster (2004), Leodus Banks (2002) and Boston Banks II (2011) and his beloved Miniature Schnauzer, Matt (2010).

Thurml's family has participated in a private memorial and will scatter his ashes at sea off the coast of Marin County in accordance with his last wishes.