Rod Kenyon, who’s worked as a teller at Glens Falls National Bank and its predecessors for 50 years, processes a deposit recently at the bank’s main office in Glens Falls.
On a recent weekday, Rod Kenyon stood behind a teller window at Glens Falls National Bank’s main office and completed transactions with dozens of customers.
He shared greetings smiles, quips and memories with one customer after another, as he has done faithfully for no less than 12,500 workdays.
Roderic Kenyon, 71, of Stony Creek was recognized and lauded recently for his 50 years of continuous service at Glens Falls National Bank and its predecessors.
Kenyon’s a favorite with customers
Joanna Willis, the firm’s Glens Falls branch manager, said that Kenyon was the first employee of the bank ever to reach the half-century mark.
She praised him for achieving many years of perfect attendance, and for volunteering to work Saturdays or substituting for other employees to help them out.
“He’s a real worker — If anyone needs him for Saturday hours or whatever, he’s there,” Willis said.
She said that his friendly, outgoing attitude has made him a celebrity of sorts with the bank’s customers, who choose to wait in line so they can be served by him.
“Rod has quite a following with our customers,” she said. “He knows all their families — with some of them, it’s several generations.”
Willis said Kenyon was meticulous, punctual and dependable in his work, and had won various awards over his half-century of service.
On a break from his workday, Kenyon talked about his tenure at the bank.
“It hasn’t seemed like 50 years,” he said. “I enjoy my work and waiting on customers.”
Kenyon was recruited by bank in 1963
In mid-December 1963, Kenyon — then a part-time typesetter at The Warrensburg News — walked into the Emerson National Bank on Main St. in Warrensburg to make a personal deposit, and an executive of the bank said he wanted to have a talk with him, Kenyon recalled. It was just several months after the death of Albert Emerson, the bank’s long-time president, Kenyon continued.
“Phil Sullivan wanted to see me in a booth at the back of the lobby, and I thought I was overdrawn,” he said. “Instead, he asked, ‘Do you want a job here?’ When I said ‘Yes,’ Phil said, ‘Can you start tomorrow?’”
Kenyon said the job offer in 1963 was an unexpected surprise.
“It was the last place I thought I could ever get a job, because all their employees had been working there forever,” he said.
Kenyon started working at the Emerson National Bank a week later, and never looked back. He worked continuously through layoffs, bank buyouts and mergers. During his tenure, signs in front of the old brick Emerson Bank building changed to State Bank of Albany, Norstar Bank, Fleet Bank, then Glens Falls National Bank in 1997.
Robbery, bygone days of banking recalled
Following more than 30 years in Warrensburg, Kenyon was transferred to the Lake Luzerne branch, where he worked for seven and a half years before transferring to the bank’s main office on Glen St. in Glens Falls.
On his break from work, Kenyon recalled how much has changed in his job as teller, which for many years was conducted without the use of computers.
Cash tickets, an adding machine, a typewriter and bookwork of the olden days are all now replaced by a computer keyboard and a display, he said.
“A lot of our new employees have never even seen a typewriter — ‘What is this thing’ they say,” he quipped.
Years ago, he handled food stamps, sold savings bonds, and accepted thousands of deposits — the latter virtually obsolete now with direct deposits of paychecks and computerized banking, he said.
Kenyon was born in Stony Creek in a farmhouse, and he attended Warrensburg High School, graduating in 1960 as Salutatorian.
Besides his work for the local weekly newspaper, Kenyon once had a summer job at the Northwoods Inn in Thurman, and he performed maintenance work for Scotty’s Motel in Lake George for about 15 years, through 2009. He now lives in Stony Creek about one-eighth of a mile from where he was born, with his wife Mary. For decades, Kenyon has served as a Trustee of Warrensburg’s Richards Library, and he was its president for 24 years.
While his 50 years as teller have been primarily predictable routine, Kenyon said he’s enjoyed every day, every customer — except one. The exception occurred when an Amsterdam man — dressed in a blue jacket robbed the Luzerne branch, at about the time of day Kenyon was headed out the back door for lunch.
Soon thereafter, seated at Stewart’s eating a sandwich, police darted in the door, asking if anybody had seen a man wearing a blue coat.
“A lady pointed at me — and I said — ‘No, it’s not me,’ to the policeman. I then had some explaining to do,” Kenyon recalled.
Citing his many customers’ friendly demeanor, Kenyon recalled that when the robber was trying to make his escape from the bank, he slipped on the rug, and customers — unaware that the man had just grabbed money from a teller — helped the criminal get back up on his feet.
Retirement is not on Kenyon’s mind
Kenyon said he enjoys the concept of his half-century of service.
“People see me on the street, and they ask, ‘How are you enjoying your retirement?’ I answer, ‘What retirement?’ Some people check of the days until they leave a job, but not me.”
Kenyon, who’s seems far younger than his 71 years, chalked up his longevity to attitude and one multi-vitamin a day.
“Age is irrelevant, it’s a frame of mind,’ he said, noting that he’s not yet anticipating retirement, despite his age.
Bank celebrates Kenyon’s tenure
In observance of his 50-year milestone, the bank had a limousine pick up Kenyon at home and bring him to work on Dec. 20, the very day of his 50th anniversary at the bank. When he arrived, bank employees and executives applauded and congratulated him. Kenyon was relieved of his teller duties for that morning, and he remained in the lobby to celebrate with customers and employees — a fete complete with cake and balloons. Later, Kenyon was taken out to lunch by the bank’s president, Tom Murphy — and was given the rest of the day off.
Kenyon concluded that when his retirement does eventually arrive, it will likely be difficult for him to adjust — he’d miss his fellow employees and customers.
“People here at Glens Falls National are very supportive — it’s like one big happy family here,” he said.
Kathy Dier, the bank’s vice president of branch services — who was born one year before Kenyon began his work as a teller, said Kenyon’s 50-year tenure was “unheard of” in the industry.
“Rod is an extremely dedicated employee, a true gentleman,” she said. “He always goes above and beyond to take care of our customers.”