The image of a banker has changed over the years. He was often seen during my grandparents and parents lives as the man who was stern and hard-nosed and tough to approach when you needed a loan. The local banker spent his time sitting behind a desk that was in an area of the bank separated by a wooden fence across the length of the building. They never smiled and they never, ever seemed to enjoy small children.
During Doug Dearing's 44 year career as a banker, and certainly during the past 22 years where he has served this community at Yosemite Bank, we have seen the change in the image of the local banker. Doug is a great example of the new banker and the type of man you enjoy working with. He was always available and he was always ready to help out. That warm smile he wore daily was genuine and he is a man of great integrity.
When I heard that Doug was going to retire and started to ask questions around town about our friendly banker, nothing but praise came from every single person I spoke with. I chatted with Glen Southerland who was part of the committee that hired Doug into the Yosemite Bank organization. Glen spoke of how impressed they were then with him and how much more impressive he became to that organization. Vince Kehoe talked of the day that Doug hired him as part of Yosemite Bank and that Doug's one mantra was, "No surprises."
I became a Yosemite Bank customer solely because of Doug Dearing. I was using another bank but always saw Doug at local events and being supportive of this area. I never saw my banker at any events. One day my former bank had messed up paperwork and they just did not want to handle the problem they had created because the bosses higher up their "food chain" wouldn't like seeing they had messed up.
My face at a local market must have shown my disgust and here came Doug Dearing over to greet me. "Are you okay?" he asked and I shared in a few words my angst with my bank. He just smiled and told me, "We'll take care of you. Come by my office in 10 minutes." I went by and 18 years later I am still a happy customer of Yosemite Bank.
Doug and his wonderful wife, Leislie, have done so very much for this community. Bankers usually define interest as a payment for money invested. Doug always seemed to have an "interest" in this community and others. Certainly we are all aware of the congratulatory cards he has sent out with a clipping from the Sierra Star telling people "We can always bank on good news from your..."
We have all been at events where a raffle prize or auction item was a savings bond from Yosemite Bank. My former school received a $3,000 scoreboard from the bank and there were many donations that helped to support the libraries, ambulance service, Scouting, Boys and Girls Club, and other organizations. "What do you need?" was his question and he came through.
A banker's reputation is his lifeblood. A branch manager can make or break a bank faster than a politician can get in front of a television camera. Doug Dearing was the face of Yosemite Bank and his reputation and his integrity has served them well. Don Eaves will be Doug's replacement and while those are big shoes to fill, Don has been working alongside Doug for years studying at the desk of the master banker.
Our community has benefited from Doug and Leislie's decision to reside here. We would have never known his compassion for helping others and we would have lost out on having his friendship if they had moved elsewhere.
There was a time in this part of the world before there was Doug Dearing in our business community and now there will be a time without Doug Dearing in our business community. I am so very delighted, as are his many friends and neighbors, that we got to be here during those wonderful years that he was a part of the local business community.
He will be honored during a reception at the bank 5:30 - 7 p.m. tomorrow (Friday).
Thankfully he and Leislie are going to remain in this area.
I wish my banker/friend many happy years in his retirement and thank him for all he has done for all of us.
Doug We could always bank on you.