By Jennifer McDaniel for the Lincoln Sentinel
For the past 50 years, Steve McReynolds has worked in the banking business.
But he’s nothing like the industry he’s faithfully served, which is often pigeonholed as stuffy and uptight.
Instead, McReynolds, who currently serves as bank manager of the Citizens State Bank & Trust Co. branch in Lincoln, thumbs his nose at convention, serving the industry on his own terms.
His thick, salt-and-pepper hair – now more salt than pepper – has a slight wave that brushes his collar, not to be unmatched by his equally white horseshoe-shaped mustache. He has a boisterous voice and a penchant for being a joker.
But he also has a serious side, giving back to his community by serving on various civic committees and volunteering his time to make his hometown better.
And on Friday, McReynolds was recognized during a reception at Citizens State Bank & Trust Co. in Lincoln.
McReynolds got his start at the bank many years ago when he was just a child, and later began working part-time in 1968. In high school, he’d come to the bank every night after basketball practice to post the checks.
By 1972, he was offered full-time employment. McReynolds worked for his father, John McReynolds, and alongside his mother, Vada, at the bank, for several years. During his career, he eventually worked his way through every department.
“Over the years, I’ve witnessed my dad hustle out of the bank to help people when the whistle blows for the fire department or rescue squad, hand popcorn to kids in the bank lobby, and exchange friendly jokes with his customers and friends,” said his daughter, Bree McReynolds-Baetz, who works with her father at the bank. “He’s a happy man, and just like my Grandpa John, he has meant so much to so many in this community for so long.”
Colleague Galen “Digger” Liggett, who also works with McReynolds, said their relationship has spanned more than six decades, going all the way back to elementary school.
“Steve and I have been together for 64 years,” Liggett said. “We have both been Lincoln residents our whole lives. We went through grade school, high school and even one year of college at Kansas State University together.”
After college, McReynolds returned to Lincoln and started working at the bank. A few years later, Liggett joined him – at the request of John McReynolds. And he’s still at the bank – 44 years later.
“Technically, Steve has more years under his belt as he started working part-time at a very young age,” Liggett said. “As Paul Harvey would say, that is the rest of the story. We have worked for the Farmers National Bank, Midwest Community Bank, and now, for the last seven years, Citizens State Bank & Trust Co. – all in the same building.”
“…It really doesn’t seem like we have been doing this for that many years, but it has been a rewarding career. Steve has been a very good boss, as well as a friend, for all these years. He will be missed.”
Aside from his banking career, McReynolds has also been on various committees and boards, serving as Lions Club and Lincoln Golf Club president, a Lincoln Area Chamber Board member, on the Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation Board and the Finch Theatre Board. He played a significant role in the Finch Theatre renovation project, and volunteered for several community clean-ups as well as spending 40 years as a fireman and rescue squad volunteer. In 2010, he was honored by the local chamber of commerce.
In his spare time, McReynolds has a crop/cattle farming operation and spends most evenings in his skid steer.
Craig Stertz has known McReynolds for many years and is familiar with his fondness for pranks. Stertz remembers his father purchasing a safe at an auction, but no one could get it open. After a few hours, Stertz’s father gave up and went home for lunch. McReynolds managed to get it open, and so the two stashed some cash inside.
“When my dad came back from lunch, Steve offered to try and open it, but only if he could get half of what was inside,” Stertz said. “After a few attempts, Steve opened the safe and voila, there’s cash inside.”
Stertz also recalled a time when McReynolds promoted a new game where people shot at each other with grease from a grease gun. But the fun quickly ended, when they spent several hours cleaning the building. Another time, he said, a carload of innocent teenagers were blamed for one of McReynolds’ stunts. The kids drove into a parking lot, where the Mity Mart is currently located, when a nearby car was nearly hit by a water balloon. The driver of the car blamed the kids. But actually, Stertz said, it was McReynolds and a group of individuals, who shot the water balloon from a “winger slinger” from across the street.
Michel O’Hare has been friends with McReynolds since he moved to Lincoln in 2000. The two served as firemen, until Steve retired this year, as well as hunted, golfed and vacationed together.
“We have ran on rescue calls, worked on his family farm, played cards – he’s really good – hunted coyotes, broken guns – Steve you know it was your fault – golfed, vacationed – he loves fried potatoes – and enjoyed many other activities,” he said. “What I have enjoyed the most is just having fun and spending time together as Steve can always find a little bit of trouble wherever he goes. I’m just glad that now we have more time to have fun. Get the clubs ready, Poncho!”
An estimated 200 friends, family and current and former customers celebrated at McReynolds’ retirement reception Friday, which featured a unique cake crafted as a replica of his trusty skid steer.
McReynolds and his wife, Marion, have two grown children, Trevor, and Bree. He also has a granddaughter, Sloan. He will continue on in a part-time role until his last day at the bank, Dec. 29.