Barbara Banks-Williams didn't let a little thing like tuberculosis stop her from living life to the fullest.
The disease, which struck her in junior high school, put her in the hospital for prolonged periods at a crucial time in anyone's life.
But she bounced back, earned her high school equivalency diploma and received certification as a respiratory therapist. She worked at John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital.
Barbara, a devoted churchwoman and mother of eight children, including Gene Banks, one of the city's most outstanding high school basketball players, died Saturday. She was 70 and lived in West Philadelphia.
She was born in Philadelphia to Pearl White and Roy Kearse. She was attending Audenried Junior High School when she contracted TB.
"Barbara was a hard worker with a tender and giving heart," her family said in an obituary. "She was always known for opening her doors to anyone in need and for always having a place at the table for anyone to enjoy a good meal."
She was married to the late Eugene Lavon Banks Sr. After his death, she married Walter Williams, who also preceded her in death.
Barbara served a number of local churches in the city as a missionary and Sunday School teacher and always made herself available for whatever was needed.
"In her service to the Lord, Barbara passionately sang old Pentecostal songs and studied God's word," her family said. "She will always be remembered for exemplifying a reverence and passion for God."
Her son Eugene L. Banks Jr. led West Philadelphia High School to a 79-2 record over three seasons in the '70s, including three Public League and City championships, starred at Duke University and played in the NBA.
She also is survived by two other sons, Derrick and Darryl; four daughters, Barbara, Natalie, Pamela and Heidi; two brothers, Earl White and Eric Fisher; 24 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by another daughter, Venesee.
Services: 11 a.m. Saturday at Mount Olive Holy Temple Church, Broad and Jefferson streets. Friends may call at 9 a.m.*