The Oldest Bank Customer?

Errol Wilson

Errol Wilson visited with Melissa Berry, assistant vice president and lending officer at Peoples Trust & Savings Bank, when he visited the new bank building in May. Wilson has probably been a bank customer longer than anyone, having started his account with First National Bank

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When Errol Wilson visited Rippey for the annual Rippey school reunion over Memorial Weekend, seeing the new Peoples Trust and Savings Bank office was on his “to do” list. The old bank building across the street was the place where, even as a young child, he had done his banking business. Wilson is thought to have the longest standing account at the bank, having opened it as a young child in the early 1920s.

Wilson was born Dec. 17, 1918. He remembers that he was very young when his father took him to the bank, then First National Bank, and opened a savings account for him. He did chores for his family and saved up his money until he had 50 cents or a dollar to put in the bank. Max Riley, an officer of the bank, was a good friend of his father, he remembers.

Wilson graduated from Rippey High School in the class of 1938. In 1942 he purchased the Phillips 66 gas station from the Johnson family, and it was First National that financed the purchase. The bank also financed Wilson’s first home. In 1943 J.H. Van Scoy, president of the bank, visited Wilson. “He told me I needed a bigger station with a showroom and a hoist. He sent me to see Oscar Burk at the lumber yard and get plans for a concrete building. I brought the plans to Van Scoy and he said it wasn’t big enough. He wanted it to be 30’ X 50’, and that’s what we ended up doing,” Wilson said.

Wilson built the new station, (now Sparky’s One Stop) with First National financing, and he’s proud to say he never missed a payment on that or his house.

Van Scoy’s next business suggestion for Wilson was that he get into the tank wagon business, so Wilson expanded his business ventures to that. When Phillips 66 wanted him to become a jobber with a bulk plant, a warehouse, and a new station, all in Perry, Wilson turned to First National Bank again. “The loan was too big for the Rippey bank, so they called the Perry Brenton Bank and the two of them lent me the money,” Wilson said.

He sold Phillips 66 gasoline doing business as Wilson Oil until 1980 and then sold his business to a Texaco distributor. “I had a heck of a business there. It was hard to sell it and leave, but I wanted to try some of the Texas winter weather,” Wilson said.

The bank has changed owners, but Wilson’s account is still there. “They take good care of me, and I never figured there was a reason not to bank there,” he said.

Although he lives year-round in Alamo, Texas, he hasn’t missed a Rippey alumni reunion. He keeps in close touch with classmate Marvin Terrill, who lives in McAllen, TX. “I’m a very lucky person and Marvin says the same thing,” he said. “We’re in better shape physically than some men 59 years old.”

This year was no different. The “Faithful Five,” as Wilson calls them, were all at the reunion—Wilson and Terrill, Eloise (Templeton) Overman and Eleanor (Lofstedt) Whiton, both of Perry, and Jean (McKelvey) McElheney of Rippey.