WORTHINGTON — When John Remme moved to Worthington in May 1963, it was to accept a position as real estate loan officer for Worthington Federal Savings and Loan.
Little did he know he would remain a fixture at the local bank for the next 56 years.
At the end of December, Remme officially retired from the banking business. It was actually his second retirement.
Remme retired as president and CEO of Worthington Federal Savings Bank on Dec. 31, 2000, but continued to provide leadership on the bank’s board of directors, serving many years as board chairman.
“I never missed a meeting,” said Remme, noting that on Dec. 31, he completed his final three-year term. Now, at 81, he can enjoy a full-time life of leisure.
While Remme’s position on the board has yet to be replaced, current bank president Doug Tate said the man will be missed.
“He’s been a fixture at Worthington Federal,” Tate said. “His knowledge has been helpful to the board and me as president and CEO of the institution. He was a good resource to rely on.”
Tate was one of Remme’s last two hires at Worthington Federal — starting just three and a half months before Remme’s retirement.
Remme prided himself on hiring individuals who found long-standing careers with the bank.
He spent many years working alongside Bruce Flygare, who succeeded him as president and CEO of Worthington Federal. Flygare led the bank from Jan. 1, 2001 through Dec. 31, 2005. Tate took the help Jan. 1, 2006.
“(Remme) hired many great employees who are still working here,” Tate said. “We have a number of employees with over 30 years of experience that were hired by him.”
“I’ve been very fortunate and I’ve had a great career,” Remme said. “It’s just a great place to work.”
A native of Luverne, Remme earned a degree in business from then-Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Always intending to work in the banking industry, he spent his first two years post-college working for Industrial Credit, a loan company in Austin.
“I answered an ad here for a real estate loan officer and worked here ever since,” Remme said.
At the time he came to Worthington, the housing market was in a steady climate. He worked primarily with individuals seeking loans to purchase homes. Through the years, he saw the interest rates fluctuate — particularly during the 1980s farm crisis.
Still, there was progress in the community — including a move by the bank from its former 10th Street location to its current locale at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 11th Street. Home construction remained steady.
“Donavon Johnson, Dale Eckerson and Orville Appel were all very active in building new homes in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s,” Remme recalled.
Remme remained a real estate loan officer at Worthington Federal until 1977, when he was elected president and CEO. In addition to his years of work at the bank, he was also involved in community organizations, serving as a Worthington Area Chamber Ambassador for many years and leading the organization as its president for one term.
Remme and his wife, Pat, each raised families here — he has three children, 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, while Pat has two children, 10 grandchildren and one great-grandson. The Remmes have been married for 28 years.
“We’re both happy here,” Remme said.