Berger McDaniel Bankston, 87, Vero Beach

Berger McDaniel Bankston, 87, of Vero Beach, died Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010, at Royal Palm Convalescent Center.

He was born July 1, 1923, in Akron, Ohio and had been a resident of Indian River County since 1979, coming from Oxon Hill, Md., where he graduated from Oxon Hill High School and residing in Oxon Hill, Md., for over 55 years.

Bankston enlisted into the United States National Guard and was a veteran of the United States Army, having served during World War II in the 144th Truck Company and in the Slapton Sands Detail.

He attended Woods Commercial College in Washington, D.C. and Pathfinder School of Radio Broadcasting, which lead him to a career as master of ceremonies for radio, television and stage on stations WHTB, WSPC, WPGC and WFCR in Maryland and Virginia and Alabama.

He graduated from Rutgers University Summer School with a certificate in treating alcohol addictions and went on to work for the State of Maryland’s Division of Parole and Probation for 25 years, retiring as an executive.

Bankston earned his private pilots license from Hyde Field Flying School in Washington.

He was the manager of the Happy Melody Boys Band which were featured on the Arthur Godfrey’s Show in the 1950’s and later published three songs; “Tobacco Chewing Blues,” “Washington, D.C. I Love You” and “Sleep It Off.”

Bankston was the author of “Feelings,” a book of many poems he wrote throughout his life.

Bankston was a member of the Maryland Masonic Lodge #227, York Rite Chapter #44 and #23 Royal and Select Masters, the Knights Templer Masons of the United States and Order of the Eastern Star in Camp Springs, MD.

He served as an advisor to the DeMolay Chapter and past associate guardian of Bethel #41 JOB’S Daughters of Maryland.

Bankston was member of the Kena Shrine Temple of Fairfax, VA Clown Unit, Amara Shrine of West Palm Beach and a founding member of the former Krazy Kops Amara Temple in Vero Beach.

He was also a member of the VFW, American Legion of Vero Beach and the Disabled Veterans of Melbourne, FL.

Survivors include his only child, Deborah K. Bankston Talbott, of Glenwood, Md.

Bankston was pre-deceased by his parents Troy Askew Bankston and Ina Mae Clark Bankston, brother Troy Jr., sister. Eileen Lafon Bankston Schiavone; his wife, Margaret E. Bankston and grandson, Scott Bankston Talbott; and dearest friend Rhoda Fosselman.

A visitation will be held 1-4 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 4, at Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home, Vero Beach.

A funeral service will be held 10 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 5, at the funeral home with the burial to follow at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens, Fort Pierce, FL.

Donations may be made to the Humane Society of Vero Beach, P.O. Box 644, Vero Beach, FL 32961 and the Boy Scouts of America.

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