A Presidential Portrait: Remembering John L. Will

john l will.jpgIn honor of our 150th anniversary in 2017 we are taking  a look back at bank history and the people who have helped to shape our bank into the successful, secure institution that it is today. Read on to learn about one of our former presidents!

John Lawrence Will was just the third man to be named President of Vinton County National Bank and he took pride in continuing the bank’s progress as it was planned by his predecessors. It was during his thirteen years of leadership that the bank’s assets topped the record breaking three million dollar mark.

During his tenure as President of the bank, he was known to continue the policies designed by those who came before him, which had made the bank strong and poised for continuous growth. While his approach was considered conservative, the bank was known to provide outstanding service to the farmers, businesses and citizens of Vinton County. It was also under his leadership that the bank survived and even thrived through the end of the Great Depression, through World War II and through post war expansion.

John L. was born in McArthur on April 18, 1881 to Aaron Will, Sr. and Minnie Bothewell Will. He graduated from McArthur High School in 1898. He began working for the bank on March 21, 1900, starting out as a Bookkeeper. He was later named Cashier before becoming President upon the death of his cousin Aaron Will Jr. in 1938.

John L. was a member of the McArthur Masonic bodies, including Delta Lodge No. 207 F. & A.M. and McArthur Chapter, Royal Arch Masons. He was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church of McArthur and the Southeastern Ohio Bankers’ Association.

In addition to his banking employment, John L. operated a farm near Zaleski and was widely known to be both understanding and sympathetic to the problems of the farmer. He was an ardent hunter and fisherman, maintained a garden and grew flowers.

He was married to Alice Reid Will and the couple had sons Dr. David R. Will and John Gordon Will who would go on to be the bank’s fifth president.

John L. died on May 8, 1951 after suffering a massive heart attack. He was 70 years old. At the time of his death, local newspapers reported that he had been discussing with other directors his plans for enlarging and remodeling the bank building. His plans did come to fruition the following year when the building was expanded, the front entrance remodeled and the lobby renovated to create a new central foyer and business room to accommodate the needs of the customer.

Learn more about our 150th year here and about two other bank presidents here and here.


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