IN MEMORIAM: Robert W. Moyer, 84; Wilber Bank President

IN MEMORIAM

Robert W. Moyer, 84;

 Bank CEO, Civic Leader

Robert Moyer

ONEONTA – Robert William “Bob” Moyer, 84, the president and CEO of Wilber National Bank for a quarter of a century, passed away Friday, Dec. 23, 2016, just two days after he celebrated his 84th birthday.

He celebrated his 84th birthday surrounded by his family (children Terri Moyer, Kathy Moyer Dragon, and Scott Moyer, daughter-in-law Ginny Moyer;  grandchildren Matthew and Luke Moyer) decorating the Christmas tree and enjoying pumpkin pie. He drove to the family home in Cooperstown, answered birthday calls and Facebook messages on his iPhone, and discussed the latest family news. He left this life the following night with everything he valued: his independence, his inquisitive nature, and his love for his family and his Oneonta community.

The only child of Mabel and Clayton Moyer, Bob was born Dec. 21, 1932  in Glens Falls. On his ninth birthday, the US was entering WWII and  his three uncles went off to serve their country.  Bob became fascinated with building models of airplanes and rockets, and began designing his own rocket ships to fly to the moon and the stars. He was a determined, mischievous and well-liked redhead whose early jobs included golf caddy, lifeguard, and ice cream scooper. He loved to tell stories of his summer milk truck route around Lake George, where he would deliver milk and ice cream 12 hours a day for 28 days straight in the summer, a schedule which he joked cut into his early dating life.  That sense of hard work and commitment followed Bob throughout his life.

When the time came to choose a college, Bob chose RPI in Troy,  to study Aeronautical Engineering.  Yet, like many natural  leaders, Bob’s path to success wasn’t a direct line.  He recalled, “By the end of sophomore year RPI tapped me on the shoulder and recommended I take a year off and get my act together.” With this new status, Bob became subject to the draft. He joined the US Air Force in 1952 and became a Master Navigator, serving from 1952-57.  Deployed to a base in Dreux, France, he traveled throughout Europe and in his free time, drove the back roads of France with his friends in their their beloved sports cars. One of Bob’s memorable opportunities while in Dreux included turning around a failing officers club.

Bob returned to college in 1958 as a business major at SUNY Albany, and then to RPI  for a MS in Management Engineering. In 1960 he met and married the love of his life, Joan Marie  Fallon, while both were working on graduate degrees and Joan was teaching.  Anticipating  the birth of their first child, they decided that Bob should find a more permanent job.  A series of  coincidences following a bounced check and Joan’s insistence that he visit the bank to deal with it in person serendipitously led Bob to the Management Trainee program at National Commercial Bank (today Key Bank).

As life would have it, weeks after the birth of their first child, President Kennedy called up the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard units for 11 months, and in October 1961 Bob reported to active duty and began flying missions to Western Europe, South Africa, South America and Asia. Bob would continue with the Schenectady Air National Guard Reserve, flying missions around the world and ultimately to the ice caps of Greenland while still fully invested in his banking career. Bob’s love of flying stayed with him through his retirement in 1976 as a Lt. Colonel with over 5,000 miles as a Master Navigator. A favorite family possession is Bob’s world globe with pins marking all the places he has been, each with its own story.

Bob was transferred to Oneonta in January of 1965 and his community and banking career took off. In 1970 Bob joined Wilber National Bank as an Administrative VP and Senior Trust Officer. In 1973, he was named President and CEO. He served as CEO of both Wilber National Bank and the Wilber Corporation for 25 years. In 1982 Bob was elected President of the New York Bankers Association and in 1985 Director of the New York Federal Reserve Bank.. In his heart Bob was a community banker, dedicated to providing services that allowed the people and businesses of Oneonta to thrive. The American Banking Association dedicated an entire ad campaign in Newsweek and other major publications to highlighting Wilber Bank, with the heading “Being a Good Neighbor is Good Banking.”

At his core, Bob was an entrepreneur. He was an early adopter of all things technology and embarrassed his daughters and inspired his son by having a home computer in the basement in 1980. Bob championed in-house development of banking software to rapidly respond to the changing needs of customers. He consulted with IBM to insure that the AS/400 was the perfect mainframe to meet the rising demands for community banks. He made sure every employee had a desktop computer to keep the bank at the forefront of new technologies. He brought Wilber online in 1995 with a technology platform considered best of class in the banking world. He lectured at numerous banking schools and mentored many business people in the community and the banking industry. Yet it was not just banking, computers, and numbers that fired Bob up, but people and ideas. He loved hearing others’ stories. He loved talking with anyone that was passionate about creating or building something. He loved reading and learning about ideas and brainstorming solutions to problems, leaving the community stronger.

Together and independently Joan and Bob gave their time and expertise to many of Oneonta’s boards, associations, charities and start-ups.  They gathered more awards and accolades than their kids could keep track of. Most memorable was being named Mr. and Mrs. Oneonta by the Future for Oneonta Foundation in 2010. Bob’s community and state involvement included board membership for Hartwick College, Otsego County Chamber, Otsego County Development Corp, Otschodela Council of Boy Scouts, NYS Business Development Corp, Executive Service Corp of Otsego and Delaware Counties America Banking Association, New York State Banking Association, IBM’s Community Bank Advisory Council, NYS Federal Reserve,  Fox Hospital, St Mary’s Parish Finance Committee, and Oneonta Rotary.

Bob was proud of Oneonta, proud of Wilber Bank, proud of his children and in awe of  his wife, who passed away suddenly in July of 2014. He always stated that none of this success would have come without the constant support and guidance of Joan. He missed her intensely but found solace in keeping up with friends and family, Face-timing with his daughters daily as they were living and traveling around the world and with his son and and family on weekends.

He left each of us and our community better and will be missed.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that you take a moment to write a story of your relationship with Bob on his website http://www.forevermissed.com/robert-moyer

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Mary’s Church in Oneonta on July 8 at 10 am, and celebrations of Bob’s life will take place July 8 and 9th in Oneonta and Cooperstown.

Condolences to the family may be made online by visiting our website: www.grummonsfuneralhome.com

Arrangements are entrusted to  the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home.

 


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