Memorial service planned for NCCU professor Richard Banks

Jan. 18, 2014 @ 09:04 AM

A service to celebrate the life of N.C. Central University professor Richard Banks is scheduled for 11 a.m. today in B.N. Duke Auditorium.

The memorial will feature musical tributes by the NCCU University Choir, NCCU Alumni Choir, Vocal Jazz Ensemble and NCCU music faculty members.

Banks passed away Dec. 22. He served NCCU for 10 years as a passionate professor, committed colleague and mentor to countless students and alumni. A Chicago native, he earned a bachelor of music education degree from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., and a master’s from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, according to NCCU.

Banks taught music education for more than two decades at a number of colleges and universities, including the State University of New York (SUNY) in Plattsburgh, Knoxville College, Talladega College, Saint Augustine’s University and Voorhees College.

He performed extensively throughout his career, including a variety of opera roles with various companies. He sang with the Chautauqua Opera Co. in New York, the Grand Rapids Opera Co. in Michigan, the Long Leaf Opera Co. in N.C. and others. Professor Banks was the recipient of numerous professional awards, honors and recognitions.

The university asks that the community keeps Banks' wife, Deborah; son, Richard D. Banks (wife, Katie); stepson Derrick Smith (wife, Shelly); and two stepdaughters, Tonya Breland (husband, Gerard) and Tamara Smith; along with the rest of his family and friends, colleagues, students and former students, in their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations are made to the NCCU Foundation c/o the University Choir.