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Former Putnam County Bank Head John ‘Jack’ Wilson, Sr. Passes

J.R. “Jack” Wilson

On December 3, 2022, John “Jack” Wilson, former President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Putnam County Bank and Putnam Bancshares, Inc. passed away.

Jack and Putnam County Bank were one and the same. He was the go-to person when one had a financial need. Like many in the community, I knew Jack in a business capacity. He helped me time and time again.

I knew Jack in other ways, too. He shared some of his experiences as a youth with the Breeze. Jack responded to an article which Irene Ambler wrote in 1981 in which she recounted wearing worn out shoes with flapping soles during the years of the Great Depression. Jack said that he had the same problem (Jack was 12 years younger than Irene). Irene was surprised to learn that Jack coped with his flapping soles by wearing rubber jar rings around his worn-out shoes. Irene was not aware of the jar ring method. I was. I employed the same anti-flapping technology to my shoes in the late 1940’s and early ’50’s.

I was the son of an unemployed factory worker during the difficult economic times that immediately followed World War II. Jack was the son of a banker. I marveled that we both had need of jar rings.

Later, I learned from Jack that he and I shared a somewhat similar experience relating to dairy cows. During my pre-teen years, I was tasked, twice daily, with milking two or three of my grandfather’s cows by hand. Jack milked two Jeresy cows and sold milk to customers during his high school years in Hurricane.

Jack was no ordinary banker. He understood what others experience and was always ready to enable them to help themselves and to make Hurricane and Putnam County a better place.

Hurricane Mayor Scott Edwards posted the following tribute on his Facebook page:

“Without Jack Wilson, I’m really not sure where I’d be today. I owe an awful lot to this man and his bank, the Putnam County Bank. At a lower point in my life, in my 20’s, I needed a loan for a car, which was provided without question. Later on, and soon after I started Netranom, I quickly realized I was undercapitalized (didn’t have enough money) and needed help quick. I had 2 options (1) close down and give up or (2) ask for help. I went to see Clara Carmichael at PCB, told her my situation, she walked over to Mr. Wilson and, within minutes, the help I needed was on the way. I paid him back within 6 months and started growing the company. Throughout the years, he and PCB have helped me continue to grow Netranom, start and grow Teays Properties and continue hiring employees. Without Mr. Wilson’s trust in me (and ultimately trust in my father), I’m really not sure where I’d be or what I would be doing today. Personally, I am forever grateful to him and the Putnam County Bank.

“Jack Wilson gave good advice and helped so many people and families. He believed in the people of Hurricane and surrounding areas and always wanted to see it grow and prosper.

“There are hundreds and probably thousands of stories just like mine. Mr. Wilson and Putnam County Bank have helped so many individuals, so many businesses, so many non-profits, so many kids groups and so many others throughout Putnam County and the entire region, including helping the town of Hurricane when needed over the years. We should all be thankful for all he and the bank have done. Mr. Wilson will be missed by many.

“Rest in peace Jack Wilson.”

Putnam County Bank’s Facebook page stated:

“As many of you know, Putnam County Bank lost an integral piece of its history and foundation this past weekend. However, to say Jack Wilson was merely a ‘piece’ of this bank, does not quite do it justice. ‘Mr. Wilson,’ as most of us here at the bank called him, was a CORNERSTONE of not only Putnam County Bank, but also of this small town, county, and community. If you drive through our county many of the small businesses, homes, and successes that you see would not be here without the financial help and trust given by Mr. Wilson. His generosity and giving can be seen throughout decades of Putnam County. Without his selflessness, our small bank, our town, and our community would not be where it is today. Much thanks and respect to you Mr. Wilson. You will be greatly missed.”

Other tributes to John “Jack” Wilson can be found on the web at https://www.tributearchive.com/obituaries/26515974/john-jack-r-wilson/wall and https://www.allenfuneralhomewv.com

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