David Sheffield, president of First Victoria National Bank from 1974 until his retirement in 1986, died July 20 at the age of 94.
Sheffield began employment with the bank on Jan. 24, 1955 as assistant vice president and agricultural officer, according to the book he wrote, “First Victoria National Bank: A History of Service Since 1867.” He served as loan officer, marketing officer, personnel officer, trust officer and executive vice president before becoming president on Aug. 14, 1974.
In 1955, total deposits of First Victoria National Bank were $32 million, according to the book. In 1974, total assets of the bank were $98 million in deposits and capital accounts of $14 million. By 1986, total assets of the bank were $413 million including capital of $40 million with no branch banks.
“He had a plan for everything and he followed through,” said Jean Payne, his secretary for about four years. “He was a good leader and a fine gentleman. He was very thorough and it was a pleasure to work for him. Even after he retired, he stayed in touch with everyone.”
Clementene Peters, of Bryan, who retired as a vice president from First Victoria National Bank, worked with Sheffield for more than 30 years.
“Dave was an individual that if you had a problem, you could always go to him,” Peters said. “He would listen, and he would help. I’ll remember him always as a perfect gentleman. I am so grateful to have had him as a dear friend in my life. He was very personable and quiet.”
As an administrative officer, Peters said Sheffield helped her deal with regulations.
“I had to deal with Washington regulations,” she said. “It was stressful and he was very helpful and knowledgeable. He knew what was there and what needed to be done.”
Sheffield was impressive to all who knew him, Peters said.
“He was very well thought of at the bank and everyone liked him,” she said.
John Zacek, chairman for the South Texas area for Prosperity Bank, called Sheffield a “huge inspiration” in a letter he composed that was read during Sheffield’s 90th birthday celebration.
“I came out of TAMU’s class of ’82 looking for a job. I had my Aggie degree, a good ag background and strong desire to become a commercial and ag banker, but I needed that entry point… someone who believed in me and would give me a chance to prove myself worthy of becoming a banker,” he said in the letter. “You were the person who gave me that opportunity.”
Sheffield opened doors for Zacek and taught him to give back to the community.
The history and legacy described in Sheffield’s book illustrate the bank’s emphasis on providing excellent service as a differentiating factor. To this day, Zacek tries to impart the message to the team of bankers that Sheffield taught him: Banks are buildings and the people inside of them and their level of service makes the difference.
“Your inspiring and mentoring of this ol’ Aggie banker has allowed me to grow personally, professionally and as a Christian,” Zacek concluded in the letter.
Gwen Sheffield, David Sheffield’s wife, said her husband’s most important legacy is the positive attitude he exhibited and his general pleasantness to everyone.
“He usually always thought the best of everyone,” she said.
She said he also thoroughly enjoyed putting together the history of First Victoria National Bank.
“That’s something he wanted everyone to know about,” she said. “It was a gentler time in our nation.”
Gwen Sheffield thought her husband would want to be remembered as a “fine Christian gentleman,” a loving father of two children and a loving husband.
“He was very patient, and he led by example,” said Blythe Carroll, the Sheffields’ daughter.
Michael David Sheffield, the Sheffield’s son, said his father instilled a work ethic in his children.
“No matter what the job, do it right and do it to the best of your ability,” he said of his father’s advice.
Sheffield lived in Rockport for the last 20 years of his life. He was a graduate of Texas A&M University and lived the six core values: loyalty, integrity, excellence, leadership, respect and selfless service, his wife said. He also was a veteran of World War II.