Letter: Fond memories to share of warmhearted banker

From: Kenneth Graham


It is with sadness we read of the passing of Elaine Keach. Although we never met, I have many good memories of her husband, John K. Keach, John Jr. and their fine staff at Home Federal Savings Bank.

In the early 1960s, I was trying to secure a mortgage to purchase a small house. Back then, Home Federal was a savings and loan. I had a small checking account at Irwin Union, across the street (remember it?).  I had made an application where my account was, and it had been indicated to me the mortgage loan would be granted, only later to be refused. I walked across the street to Home Federal and asked to speak to someone about a mortgage.

Mr. Keach came over, introduced himself, and we went over to his desk. He took out a one-page application sheet and asked me a few questions. I had managed to save $500 and had about $18 in my checking account at Irwin Union. He noted that, where I worked and asked if I had any other assets. I hardly knew what the word meant and just lowered my head. I saw him write on the application, “sufficient.”

He sat on the edge of his seat taking the time to listen to me, whom he had never met, showing me more courtesy than I had ever received at Irwin Union. Mr. Keach scanned over the application, then told me they thought they could do that, and they did, helping me, my wife and baby daughter to get into a decent house that had plumbing and a warm furnace.

The story is told of a widow who had a small mortgage there, and they had filed a mortgage exemption for her taxes, which the auditor’s office had lost. She took a bus downtown to the bank and went inside. Mr. Keach knew her (as he did everyone) and went over to talk with her in the lobby. Telling him what had happened, he immediately asked someone to check it out, but they weren’t able to find it. (This was prior to everything being computerized.)

He assured this poor woman they would find the exemption paper. After closing and not asking the staff to stay to look through the files, Mr. Keach himself worked into the night and found the exemption, took it home with him, came in early the next morning and personally took it to the needed county office.

In all this, there is hardly a view of a hard-hearted banker, and I must say when John Jr. came in, that same policy continued. Any small financial success I have made would not have happened without the help of the good Keach family and their bank. I need also to mention some others: dear sweet Linda Scheidt, Buryl Line, Jim Powell, Keith Luken, Nancy Ann Brown, Judy Droddy and Miss Judy, the teller, along with many others.