50-Year Bankers honored

22 legendary bankers recognized for half century of service

In 1971, there were two successful Apollo moon missions; All in the Family debuted and the final episode of The Ed Sullivan Show aired; the 26th Amendment lowering the voting age to 18 was ratified; the NASDAQ debuted; Starbucks was founded; Walt Disney World and Texas Stadium opened; and Southwest Airlines took flight.

It was also the year that 22 dedicated Texas bankers began their remarkable careers. To honor their half-century or more of service, the Texas Bankers Foundation will present them with the 50-Year Banker Awards during TBA’s Annual Convention.

Michael R. BroxsonMichael R. Broxson, CEO of Lovelady State Bank, has been with the bank for 47 years. He has been very active in the community; he is a member of the local Lions Club and the Lovelady Masonic Lodge. He has served on the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Go Texas Committee for more than 40 years, where he has served as vice chairman and is a Lifetime Committeeman. He was elected as mayor of Lovelady, a total of five times. He has served on TBA committees, the Texas Bankers Foundation and the TBA Board of Directors.

Ruth Ann CrowsonRuth Ann Crowson is a third-generation banker and has been with Alliance Bank in Sulphur Springs her entire career. She has held positions in every area of the bank and currently serves as EVP/chief risk officer and has been a member of the board of directors since 2009. Throughout her career, she has been active in the community. She is currently an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Sulphur Springs, where she served as a past president and treasurer. She was also involved in the Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce and United Way.

Darly GrawunderDarly Grawunder began her career as a high school senior participating in the D.E. program. In 1971, after graduating she was hired as a full-time employee of First National Bank Bellville; she has been with the bank her entire career. She started her career as a teller and was promoted to her first officer position in 1987, when she became a VP/cashier. She was promoted to SVP in 2008, a position she still holds. In 1983, she received a FNB Employee of the Month and then was named Employee of the Year for accomplishments and outstanding job.

Michael J. GreenwellMichael J. Greenwell began his banking career in 1961, as a part-time stocker and check filer at Jefferson Bank. During his career, he has worked at Broadway National Bank; Capital National Bank, Austin; Central Park Bank; First City Bank of San Antonio; Valley-Hi National Bank; First State Bank of Bandera; Norwest Bank; and Wells Fargo. In 2011, he was elected as an advisory director of TransPecos Banks. In 2013, he served as the bank’s president and CEO in an interim capacity. He served on the board of directors until 2019. He has served the San Antonio community through several organizations.

Cubby HudlerCubby Hudler began his banking career on February 1, 1971, he went to work as a teller at Johnson City Bank. He worked in all positions and became the bank’s president in 1974. When the bank was acquired by Bandera Bank in 2019, he continued as president and oversaw operations. Later that year, he accepted a position with Texas Regional Bank as EVP and market president of the Johnson City branch. He served as a Johnson City Council Member and has been involved with numerous community organizations throughout the years including, the Lions Club, the VFW and County Youth Stock Show.

Kenneth JohnsonKenneth W. Johnson began his banking career while in college. After graduation, he joined a training program at Security Pacific Bank in California. He returned to Texas and has served as president and CEO of banks in Killeen, Fort Hood, Granbury and Del Rio. In 2001, he joined City State Bank in Palacios and became the president and CEO in 2008. The bank merged with Commercial State Bank of El Campo and is now part of the First Financial Bankshares, where he recently retired as an EVP. He has served as president of the Palacios Chamber of Commerce and the Matagorda County Economic Development Corporation.

Rodney G. KrollRodney G. Kroll began his banking career while attending Baylor University, as a mail boy for Citizens National Bank of Waco. After graduating, he was hired as the bank’s COO. In 1985, he became the bank’s president and COO. In 1997, he became president and chairman of the Texas First State Bank and Texas First Bancshares, Inc. He currently serves as area chairman of BancorpSouth Bank. He has been very involved in the Waco and City of Woodway communities, serving on the boards, commissions and committees. He has also served as a past advisory director of TIB and past director of both the IBAT and TBA.

Susan LumpkinSusan Lumpkin started her banking career as a receptionist at the First National Bank in Quanah, which is now First Capital Bank. She continued her career in the bookkeeping department and was promoted to head bookkeeper. Later she moved to the front lobby to become a teller, where she was first promoted to the first teller window and then to her current position as vice president/teller operations. She has been an active member of ESA Sorority for 43 years and is a member of Goodlett Reformed Baptist Church, where her husband is the pastor.

Russell N. RichardsonRussell N. Richardson started his banking career in 1971 as a motor bank teller with Cleburne National Bank. He has been part of several de novo banks - Burleson State Bank, Midland American Bank, Shady Oaks National Bank, Fort Worth and Star Bank of Texas. In 2016, Star Bank sold to Community National Bank and Trust of Texas. He currently serves as an advisory director to both the bank and the holding company. He served five years on the Burleson City Council and has served for several years on the Board of Deacons and Trustees of Hallmark Baptist Church. He also served on the IBAT and TBA boards.

Rob Roy SpillerRob Roy Spiller began his banking career in 1971, at the request of his father-in-law and Junction National Bank President Jordan Cunningham. He worked in most of the bank’s departments and in 1981, became the bank’s president. Following Mr. Cunningham’s passing in 1991, he assumed the role of chairman of the board. In 2010, Mr. Spiller stepped down as president and CEO but continues to serve as the board chairman. He lists helping people and supporting the community as his most favorite aspects of his banking career. He has been a representative for the local Salvation Army for more than 45 years and has supported numerous organizations.

Ralph WilliamsRalph Williams began his banking career in 1958, with Houston National Bank, working as a runner and in the proof department. In 1963, while attending banking school at night, he joined the First State Bank of Bellaire. In 1983, he accepted a position as an EVP to help start Citizens National Bank of Texas. He rose through the ranks to become the bank’s president and CEO. He continued his career at Bank of Texas and Westbound Bank. In 2011, Mr. Williams joined Bank of Houston, which is now Independent Bank. In 2019, he joined the new Bank of Houston, N.A.; he currently serves as an SVP of the bank.

Frankie CooperFrankie Cooper began her banking career in the bookkeeping department of First National Bank of Mount Vernon. When the bank was sold to Alliance Bank in March of 2019, she was named EVP/lending and served as an advisory director. She then served as market president before retiring in March. She continues to serve in a lender position for the bank. She has served on numerous boards and committees in Mount Vernon and Franklin County. She was inducted into the Franklin County Hall of Fame in 2013 and was named Women of the Year in 1994.

Joe DavidsonJoe Davidson began his banking career as a general ledger accountant at First National Bank in Byers. He was with the bank for 42 years before it was acquired by Fidelity Bank and then by FirstCapital Bank of Texas. He has remained in the same location his entire career. He is currently the SVP/branch president of the Byers branch. He has served on the Clay County Pioneer Reunion and Rodeo Board twice and served as the chairman in 2000. He was also named an Outstanding Citizen of Clay County by the Henrietta and Clay County Chamber of Commerce in 2000.

Neely F. GrawunderNeely F. Grawunder began her banking career as a bookkeeper for First National Bank Bellville in1971, she has been with the bank her entire career. She has held a number of positions, including secretary and loan officer. She has served as the secretary of the board of directors since 2006 and currently serves as an SVP. She has been an active member of St. John Lutheran Church in Bellville, serving several terms as a member of the Council and Trust Committee, a Sunday School teacher, a member of the Altar Guild and a member of the Bell Choir.

James HodgesJames Hodges began his banking career as a teller with First National Bank of Granbury in July 1971; he has been with the bank his entire career. He was promoted to VP, cashier in 1975 and became an EVP, cashier in 1984. He has been a member of the bank’s board since 1980 and its president and CEO since 2015. He has been a past president of the Optimist Club, the Chamber of Commerce, Granbury Sports Association, Pirates Booster Club and was a charter board member of GISD Educational Foundation. He is a current member of Acton Baptist Church and the TCU Letterman’s Association. 

Linda HumphriesLinda Humphries began her banking career in 1969 with Texas Commerce Bank, N.A., working as a Trust Department secretary. In 1972, she joined Bank of Almeda in Houston to expand her knowledge. She has been part of the teams that organized and opened both Jersey Village Bank, which became Sterling Bank, and Allegiance Bank. She currently serves as Allegiance Bank’s EVP/executive director of customer experience. She serves on the Board of Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital, the Cy-Fair Educational Foundation, Cy-Hope and serves on the Philanthropic Committee for Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council. 

Walter JohnsonWalter Johnson, founder and senior chairman of Amegy Bank began his banking career in 1960 as an officer trainee for Bank of Southwest in Houston. He was the president and CEO of Allied Bank of Texas for 18 years, before founding Amegy. He has chaired or co-chaired fundraising campaigns for Houston charitable endeavors including Star of Hope Women and Children’s Shelter, Minority Housing and Minority Small Business, and the Association for Mexican American Students. He is a past director of the Houston branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. He is a member of the Texas Business Hall of Fame and the Texas Bankers Hall of Fame.

David Eugene “Gene” PellDavid Eugene “Gene” Pell began his banking career in 1969, as assistant cashier at First Capital Bank in West Columbia. In 1977, he was hired by First State Bank of Clute to manage its newly built mini bank; he was later promoted to SVP. In 1982, he was elected bank president and bank board. He retired in 2005 but has continued to serve as vice chairman and as a loan consultant. He has served on many boards including GCCC – Brazoria County, Rotary Club and West Columbia Emergency Management. He was named the Chambers Man of the Year in 1993 and in 2012, Junior Achievement named him to the Business Hall of Fame

George MartinezGeorge Martinez began his banking career as a trainee and mail boy at Fannin Bank while attending Rice University. While working as an accountant for Retzloff Chemical Company, he was a co-founder and director of Pan American National Bank. After leaving Retzloff and Pan American, he joined Bank of Almeda. In 1974, he co-founded Sterling Bank and served as its CEO from 1980 to 2001. In 2007, he co-founded Allegiance Bank where he currently serves as vice chairman and director and chairman of Allegiance Bancshares, Inc. He has served on several community boards, including the Greater Houston Partnership, Rice Business, University of St. Thomas and Center for Houston’s Future.

Welton Sanders, Sr.Welton Sanders, Sr. has been with First State Bank & Trust Company in Carthage, for his entire 66-year career where he has been responsible for bank’s maintenance. When he began his career, the bank was in its original location on the Carthage Square but in 1972, moved to its current location, which is triple the size of the old bank. He was named an Employee of the Year in 1997. He is a member of Pleasant Grove M.B.C. where he serves with the Deacons Ministry and has served as the Sunday School Superintendent and on the Finance Committee as a Trustee.

Richard WareRichard Ware started his full-time banking career as a loan officer at Amarillo National Bank, where he is a fourth-generation banker of the Ware family. In 1982, he became president of the bank and currently serves as the bank’s chairman. He has served on several Amarillo community nonprofit boards and committees as well as the Texas Business Hall of Fame, Texas Lyceum, Texas Tech Medical School Advisory. He has served on the SMU Board of Trustees for three terms and is the longest serving non-Dallas Trustee. SMU students named him Outstanding Trustee of the Year in 1987, 1995 and 1998. He was named SMU Outstanding Alum in 2008.

Joe WinnifordJoe Winniford began his banking career in 1963, with Citizens National Bank in Greenville. His first position was as a bookkeeper, then he held positions in the operations department and eventually worked his way up to president and CEO of the bank. He joined American National Bank of Texas in 2002 and has spent the past 18 years as a business development officer. He is a past chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee of Highland Terrace Baptist Church, a past president of the Greenville Lions Club, and a former ambassador for Texas A&M – Commerce.