Bank employee honored for years of service

NEW MATAMORAS – If it had been up to Linda Kirkbride, her retirement from The Peoples Savings Bank after more than 45 years would have taken place with no fanfare.

But bank CEO Ron Cooley wasn’t going to let the bank’s longest tenured employee ride off into the sunset without some recognition. So Cooley declared Friday “LK Day at the Bank,” inviting friends and customers to stop by and show their appreciation.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Kirkbride, the bank’s vice president and cashier and treasurer for PSB Holdings Inc., the bank’s parent company. “I’m nothing special, you know.”

Cooley respectfully disagreed.

“Her knowledge of banking is just phenomenal, and her (knowledge of) history of the bank is something we’re dearly going to miss,” he said.

But Kirkbride, a resident of New Matamoras for most of her life, won’t be going very far.

“I told them I’m only a phone call away,” she said.

“Her number’s on speed dial,” laughed Cooley.

Kirkbride, 66, is a graduate of Stover High School in New Matamoras. She spent a year in Washington, D.C., working for the FBI in fingerprinting, before returning to New Matamoras when she got married. She went to work at the bank on July 1, 1968.

“I didn’t like the big city,” Kirkbride said. “I like just the small hometown (feel), know your neighbor.”

Back then, the bank’s total assets were about $3 million, and the building was located at the corner of Front and Main streets. The current site opened in 1978 after the original was gutted by fire. Today, the 102-year-old bank has branches in Newport and Lower Salem and total assets of $55 million.

Location and asset value aren’t the only things that have changed during Kirkbride’s time with the bank. She’s gone from bookkeeper to teller to computer operator, adapting to the ever-increasing technology in the banking world.

“It’s just on-the-job training,” she said.

Kirkbride’s last day at the bank will be Tuesday. Her responsibilities managing the operational side of the bank will pass to operations officer Miriam Taylor on Jan. 2. Taylor said she’s excited but recognizes the daunting task of trying to fill Kirkbride’s shoes.

“It’ll take me a while to gain all the knowledge that she’ll be taking with her,” Taylor said.

Kirkbride doesn’t have any specific plans for retirement yet other than spending more time with family. The bank is closed on New Year’s Day, so Thursday will be the first day she doesn’t have to come in to work.

“It’s going to be different,” she said.

It will be for Cooley as well.

“I’ll be looking at the clock about five after eight, wondering where you are,” he told Kirkbride.