Joshua Silver Banks, who passed away at age 33 on January 17, 2021, was passionate about life and expressed tremendous joy and exuberant energy. Josh is survived by his parents, Bob Banks and Vicki Silver, Uncle Bob Stave, and aunts and uncles Kate and Bill Banks and Sherry and David Mayer, plus his beloved coach, Frank Johnson.
Born in Tallahassee, Florida, Josh moved to Jupiter, Florida on his first birthday. While he developed autism and lost his ability to speak before age two, he made a lasting impression on many community members. He did so by constantly singing (he wrote his own songs and vocalized in a language all his own), and shared with everyone he met a unique blend of humor, compassion, and an energetic determination to work hard and keep learning in every setting.
In early 2018, he began working at the U.S. Sailing Center of Martin County. He assisted with cleaning and maintenance, receiving an award after the first month as “Most Helpful Team Member”. He earned respect and admiration from the CEO and coworkers for his high work ethic and enthusiastic attitude. He was an equally enthused and respected volunteer at House of Hope food bank in Stuart.
Speaking of food, Josh was passionate about eating a variety of foods. He loved ice cream, cookies and a variety of cuisines including Mexican, Thai, Japanese (especially sushi), Chinese (especially dim sum), Korean, and Lebanese. He loved going to the beach, hiking, bicycling, therapeutic horseback riding, gymnastics, and more recently sailing (which gave him a great sense of freedom), besides occasional kayaking and paddle boarding. He took special needs yoga and dance classes and was a long-time ringer in the Exceptional Ensembell handbell choir. Josh was one of the first participants in classes at The Chocolate Spectrum and enjoyed sampling the chocolates that he and the other chocolatiers made each week.
Josh also expressed himself by creating vibrant paintings/drawings. After packing art supplies to occupy his energy while evacuating from a hurricane, his Mom discovered that he loved to rapidly cover pieces of paper with brightly colored strokes of marker, paint and sometimes chalk. Encouraged by visiting art professor Mari Omori, Josh displayed art works in 11 group shows and 3 solo shows and in prints and notecards over a 6-year period, raising money for various special needs nonprofits.
A graduate of special education classes from age 3 to 21 at Allamanda Elementary through Jupiter Middle and William T. Dwyer High School, he lived in Jupiter with his parents until 2010. Then he moved to a group home in Jensen Beach run by the ARC of Martin County where he was living at the time of death. Josh loved the group home and the staff loved him. He looked forward to going out with his parents, and when they dropped him off he would push them out the door and peer out the window of his room to make sure they had really left.
Josh enjoyed life and inspired and brightened the life of everyone he met. He will be terribly missed by all who got to know him.
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