Eva Ban, a former resident of Three Rivers, died Saturday, March 8, with her youngest daughter at her side. She was 94.
Eva was born November 18, 1919, in Long Branch, N.J., and raised in Budapest, Hungary. She trained from an early age to become a ballet dancer. Dance was her greatest joy.
Eva came to Hollywood during the World War II years with high hopes of fame. She worked for MGM Studios for several years doing bit parts and dancing.
She doubled for Hedy Lamarr and was one of the swimming/dancing beauties in Bathing Beauty (1944) with Esther Williams. She was also in Neptune’s Daughter; Kismet with Marlene Dietrich and Ronald Colman; and Du Barry Was a Lady with Gene Kelly and Lucille Ball. Eva appeared as a solo dancer in the original Cisco Kid, starring William Boyd.
In 1940, Eva met her first husband, Jack Parker, a talented Hollywood photographer. They had a daughter, Andrea, but divorced a few years after her birth.
Three years later, Eva met Alexander Ban, a handsome Hungarian architect, whom she married just weeks after their meeting. They had two children, a son, Nathen, and daughter Agi.
Eva raised her family in Hollywood. She was active in her children’s lives as a Boy Scout troop leader, a Girl Scout troop leader, and PTA president.
She went back to school for a teaching credential and taught kindergarten for many years. In the 1970s, Eva and Alex retired to Three Rivers.
Alex designed and built their home along the Kaweah River. Once again, Eva found her way into community groups and activities. She was active in the Senior League; organized annual school dance pageants with her dear friend, Gaynor McKee; and taught senior exercise classes and senior water aerobics classes.
Ten years after the death of her husband, Eva felt she needed to move closer to family. From 2009 to her passing, she lived in the Bay Area near her son and youngest daughter. She always missed her Three Rivers home, the community, and the beauty of Three Rivers.
She is survived by her three children. A memorial will be held in Oakland on Saturday, April 5, at the Oakland Soka Gakkai Community Center. A memorial will also be held in Three Rivers at a date to be determined.