RIP–Anthony Banks

My best friend Tony died 2 years ago on this day at the age of 31 due to heart complications. He was a .NET developer and group manager at Verizon. He is survived by his 2 young children, Devin and Danika, and wife Misty. His funeral was on 6/20/09 and below is the eulogy I gave at his service. I still miss him and want to honor his memory.

I just wanted to share a little about the Tony Banks I knew, with all of you. I met Tony over 7 years ago through another friend. He and I shared a lot in common and became fast friends. Cars, music, technology…it was easy. We thought a lot alike and ended up building our houses 3 miles apart, by sheer coincidence all the while living down the street from each other in Valley Ranch. That’s when we met, way before the kids came. Tony was sharp, funny, analytical, and a good debater. This was our thing. We debated almost any topic you can think of: religion, politics, cars, music. Anytime, anywhere was fair game, at dinner, just sitting around, over dominoes. This particular characteristic in both of us sometimes took its toll socially for each of us, separately. He never let me slide by making loose points on a topic of conversation and I didn’t let him slide either. That’s just how we were. I’m sure it was exhausting listening to us sometimes as both of our wives can attest. We worked in the same business, technology, and could talk for hours about our work. I don’t have many other people outside of work that I could talk to like this, and he didn’t miss a step. He was genuinely interested in what I do and this was special. His passing will leave more than a few large holes for me. I figured we be old men arguing sport compacts and muscle cars, how could it be any other way? I would love to hear his analysis of the afterlife. You could bet that it would be thorough and concise. I’m sure he has plenty of questions and will no doubt find all of the answers.

I considered Tony a true friend, not just a mere acquaintance like the majority of people in our lives who aren’t family. I don’t give out that title freely or easily. It was easy being his friend too. We weren’t high maintenance and we didn’t play petty games. Weeks could go by and either of us could reach out on a Friday or Saturday and get together for a drink or dinner with our families. He was my best friend and please forgive me for repeating this cliché, but it’s true, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. My wife Lisa considered him a friend too and shared in some of the same vigorous debates. Tony had a promising career and had become successful at Verizon moving into management. His goal was to become an executive in management and was well on his way. There was no half way with Tony. He was 100% full speed into everything he did. Work, play, exercise, video games, cigars… drinking. He committed fully to everything he lent his time to. No exceptions.

Tony loved his parents dearly and idolized his father. I honestly can’t say that about anyone else I know that’s our age. He idolized his father. He loved the family he and Misty created and was a great provider for them. He always said that Misty was an amazing nurturer and natural mother. He absolutely loved his babies. If we’re all put here for a purpose and God has a plan for each of us, could it be that Tony achieved his goal early? If he achieved this goal early, and ahead of the rest of us, then this achievement should be celebrated. But that’s his path, his journey. I’m glad that I was able to know Tony Banks, for however brief it was. I celebrate that he touched mine and my family’s lives and I will miss my friend...

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