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Larry Banister
Larry Banister
Larry Banister

Mr. Larry Banister, 74, of Hudson, Fla., formerly of Dahlonega, passed away peacefully at his home on Monday, May 4, 2020, after a courageous battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

Born Nov. 4, 1945, in Gainesville, Ga., to the late Ford and Henry Ellen Banister, Larry was a graduate of O’Keefe High School and Gupton Jones College of Mortuary Science. Later he attended Gainesville College and the University of Maryland. He embraced a calling of military service early in life and was a proud U.S. Air Force Veteran. Larry was a partner with his father in Banister Funeral Home in Dawsonville from 1965 to 1991. In 1984, he and his wife Joyce founded Banister Funeral Home in Dahlonega where they served the community until their retirement in 2017. An active member of the IFDG and GFDA, Larry was known and respected by many colleagues in the funeral profession. For several years Larry owned and operated Dahlonega Marble and Granite Company providing monuments and memorials. During those many years of service, Larry was very involved in his community.

While in Dawsonville, Larry was the owner of the Dawsonville Men’s Shop. He was also certified as one of the first Emergency Medical Technicians in Dawson County. He was involved in Dawson County acquiring its first ambulance and was instrumental when the service transferred from the funeral home to Dawson County in 1978. He served as a volunteer firefighter, was a member and past president of the Dawson County Jaycees, was active in the early years of the Dawsonville Fall Festival (now known as the Moonshine Festival) and was a member of the Dawsonville Lions Club. In addition, he served for many years as a Deputy Coroner in Dawson County and was a member of the Dawsonville City Council. In recognition of his efforts to establish fire protection and quality emergency medical care Larry was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by Dawson County Emergency Services in 2010.

Arriving in Dahlonega in the mid-1980s his desire to serve others continued. He was a founding member of the Kiwanis Club, a member of the Dahlonega Rotary Club, the Gideons and the Dahlonega Cooper Green Prayer Group. Larry also served in various capacities with the Rainbow Children’s Home, Ninth District Opportunity, Habitat for Humanity, and the Lumpkin County Veterans Committee. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Lumpkin County Veterans Park and was a graduate of Leadership Lumpkin. Larry was elected and served as Coroner in Lumpkin County from 2008 to 2016. He was a member of Dahlonega Baptist Church.

Perhaps Larry’s life was best described by Gandhi when he said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” His life was defined by service to his fellow man. His prayer in his final days was “I pray that I did enough for each and everyone.”

Survivors include his wife of 43 years, Joyce (Joy) Banister, Hudson, Fla.; sister, Catherine B. Manier, Dawsonville, Ga.; grandson, Trey Banister Morris, Cleveland, Ga.; best-friends, John and Joyce Fields, Dahlonega, Ga.; and special friend, Lanier Swafford, Dawsonville, Ga. Other relatives also survive.

Due to the current social environment, the family will hold a private service. 

In lieu of flowers, those wishing to do so may make memorial donations to the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Center, University of South Florida, 4001 East Fletcher Avenue, 6th Floor, Tampa, FL 33616.

Please share a memory of Mr. Banister or a condolence with the family at

Anderson-Underwood Funeral Home of Dahlonega is in charge of arrangements. 

Dawson County News, May 13, 2020