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Huntley banker retires

By Staff | Dec 29, 2008

Dick, with bank employee Elaine Kiehm, who will be assuming some of the duties previously performed by Mair.

For the past 37 years people in the Huntley area have seen the friendly face of Dick Mair in the Alliance Bank in Huntley. That won’t be true any longer.

Mair retired from his position as president of the bank and was honored at an open house on Dec. 19.

“It was time to go,” says Mair, who recently turned 65. He and his wife Darlene are going to head south and spend the next four months in Florida.

“We just want to try it out,” Mair says, with his perpetual smile. “Our daughter and granddaughter live near where we are going to stay .”

Anticipating Dick’s retirement was a major reason why Darlene Mair did not run for the hospital board this past fall.

“I find it funny that the guy she replaced on the hospital board had been on it for 25 years and Darlene thought it was past time for him to get off the board,” Dick remembers. “Now she has been on it for 23 years,” he adds with a chuckle.

Dick and Darlene Mair have not wandered too far from home in the past. Dick is from Huntley, and Darlene is from Guckeen originally.

“We both went to Huntley High School, and yes, we were high school sweethearts,” Mair recalls.

They went to the Twin Cities area after graduation, for college and first jobs. However, they had a strong desire to return home, if a good job could be found.

“I heard the job at the bank might be opening up soon,” Mair says. “I was taking some college classes and quickly took an accounting class – so I at least knew what a credit and a debit was.”

Mair got the job, hired by the bank owner, Leonard Nelson. He worked for Leonard and then his son Gene for 25 years.

“They sold the bank to Alliance, which is a family owned bank company out of the Twin Cities,” Mair says. “I can’t say enough about the great people I have worked for, and with, over the years.”

One of those people is Elaine Kiehm, who will be taking over some of the duties Mair has done at the bank. She has been at the bank for 33 years.

Alliance will also be sending a loan officer, Mike Lieb, from their New Ulm office a couple of days a week.

“They are skilled people, so folks will still have great service from the bank in Huntley,” Mair says.

He remembers when he first started, he did a lot of on-the-job training.

“When you work in a small town bank, you become a jack-of-all-trades,” Mair says. “I learned every facet of banking.”

He recalls going to seminars and conventions and finding out that in the big banks, people only know their particular job.

“Here, I had to know it all,” he says. That includes all of the customers’ names and everything about them.

On Dec. 19, many of those customers and friends showed up to say thanks to this small town banker, and to wish him well in retirement.