Dave Scruby, Evergreen's Banker
Born in Ontario, Canada and moved to Chillicothe, Missouri at an early age. Graduated from University of Missouri with a BS in Business Administration. Served in the Air Force during the Korean War. Taught in the Administrative school at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne. Graduated from the U.S. Air Force Officer Candidate School but could never qualify for flight training as he was color blind. Married Jean in 1953.
Dave started his banking career at Citizens National Bank, in Chillicothe, Missouri as a teller and later on became Cashier, which at that time was an upper-level position. Graduated from the ABA Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin. Met a fellow at an FPRA convention in Chicago who interested Dave in a new bank they were starting "in a place called Evergreen, Colorado," he recalled.
He left sunny Chillicothe on a Spring April day and arrived to a blizzard in Evergreen with two feet of snow. "We rode around, as best we could, with Jack Rouse the unofficial mayor of Evergreen. One thing led to another and we opened Evergreen State Bank on March 1, 1960." It was the first bank in Evergreen, which, at that time, barely had 2,000 residents year-round. Dave would become known as "Evergreen's banker" and would play a huge role in the evolution of the community over the years. The bank merged with Colorado National Bankshares in 1973, and Dave spent the next five years in Denver with First Colorado Bankshares. Leo Bradley, Jack Rouse and Dave Scruby chartered the Bank of Georgetown (Colorado). Dave and Jean Scruby were among the first members of Hiwan Golf Club when it opened in 1962.
In 1972 Dave was appointed by Governor John Love to the Appellate Level Judicial Nominating Commission, the first to provide a female subsequently appointed to the Court of Appeals.
Because of his bank presidency, Jean was kidnapped in 1974 and held for $200,000 ransom; and another officer of the bank was given 14 minutes to deliver the cash in large denominations to a phone booth in Bergen Park and await further instructions. "The mid-'70s brought a wave of kidnappings, starting with the abduction of Patty Hearst. For a period during that time, a banker's wife somewhere in the country was being kidnapped daily. The bankers were having special classes on what to do and what not to do," Dave recalled. Jean had gotten strange phone calls indicating a delivery from the May D&F department store when she wasn't expecting a delivery. Being on the alert, she'd phoned Dave; and while on the phone, a strange van pulled into the driveway. She described the vehicle to her husband. Upon Dave's instructions to lay down the phone and answer the door, a man entered the house and pulled a gun. Jean's scream sent a message to Dave, whose quick actions led to advising the Sheriff's Dept. Within 30 minutes, deputies had apprehended two men near El Rancho, freeing Jean, who was lying in the back of the van with her hands tied. She was not injured in the incident, only shaken.
When some local interests found a need to restoring a bank on Main Street, Dave was involved with chartering another bank in Evergreen. That bank opened in the Spring of 1980 as Evergreen National Bank.
In his own words, Dave sums up early banking in Evergreen:
"Judging the contribution that the little first bank in Evergreen made to the mountain community would be difficult. I'm positive it would be enormous. I've heard a lot of stories about what people did before banking in Evergreen. Herman Olde had the Texaco station down the street and supposedly kept more cash than needed and he cashed checks for people he knew. Later on, Golden Savings opened a branch (Savings and Loan Associations could do that then) in Evergreen, but they were limited to the services they could provide and made few loans.
"The mere establishment of a commercial bank tells the world that the community is here to stay and that brings other businesses and investment to the community. Early on, Evergreen was a bunch of old houses that needed remodeling and updating. We made a lot of improvement loans. We began to make loans to develop tracts and subsequent home construction loans. Needless to say, the convenience of checking and savings accounts and auto loans was a big factor. The ability of business owners to have credit in their own community was far-reaching. I can't tell you how many businesses and restaurants we had loans with that may not have been possible had they presented their request to an out-of-area bank. After a while these factors begin to feed on each other, and the underlying result is substantial.
"The example I'll never forget is the building trades class at the high school. Gene Younger thought it would be a worthwhile learning experience for his class to build a house from scratch. He came to me to see how this might be accomplished. We had to get a little creative, so we made the local realtors association the owner; the bank would be the lender; and his class would provide the labor. Any money made on the project would be rolled over to next year's class project, meaning more equity and less loan or perhaps more house. Although this was not too popular with bank regulators, that was my problem as was the case with so many people I felt worthy of my support. Yes, I'd guess you say, that from little acorns, mighty oaks grow!"
Colorado was the last state in the union to approve Branch Banking. During the 1980's it was apparent that it was coming, but there were still a lot of hold-outs among the small independent banks. The outlying areas had a lot of political power and succeeded in keeping branching out for a long time.
Dave was president of the Colorado Bankers Association for the 1987-88 term. It was not until a couple years later that Colorado became a branching state. During his time with the Colorado Bankers Association, he was on the Board of Directors of "Banklnsure," a captive insurance company formed by bankers when the normal source for Fidelity Insurance dried up.
While in Evergreen Dave was President of Evergreen Kiwanis, President of Forest Heights Lodge, President of Mountain Parks Protective Association, which was dissolved when he was president as it had outlived its original purpose and the property sold and money put in trust to form a scholarship for Evergreen students.
According to the Sternberg book, the Mountain Parks Protective Association (MPPA) "provided protective surveillance of buildings that were unoccupied for long stretches of time, as most of the structures in Evergreen prior to 1960 were summer homes. MPPA formed in 1925 and for 49 years provided patrol service for homeowners in Jefferson, Clear Creek, and Park Counties, supplementing the services of the County Sheriffs' Departments. The MPPA supervisor and patrolmen had Deputy Sheriff Commissions. MPPA also inspected and treated trees suffering from the recurrent infestations characteristic of forest life. With a grace and timing uncharacteristic of entrenched organizations, it voted itself out of existence in 1974."
Dave was President of Hiwan Hearths (Condominium) Association and on the board of Mount Evans Hospice. In 1974 he was designated Person of the Year by the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce. He was a charter incorporator and the first treasurer of Mountain Area Land Trust when it formed in 1993. "I liked the concept of preserving peoples property rights and still maintaining the beauty that is so special to Evergreen."
Dave retired from banking in 1993, and he and his wife relocated to Greeley.
Sources: Dave Scruby; Evergreen, Our Mountain Community (Sternberg).