George Richard (Dick) Wetmiller, 87, Cape Haze, Fla., formerly of Berlin
Wetmiller (May 20, 2012)
George Richard (Dick) Wetmiller was born on March 16, 1925, in Berlin. He is the son of George H. and Elfreda M. Wetmiller. He grew up in Berlin, graduating from high school in 1943. Upon graduation, Dick joined the U.S. Army Air Corps and served as an aerial gunner and instructor during World War II. Prior to discharge he married his sweetheart, Shirley G. Thompson, on July 6, 1945. Shirley lived in Orlando, Fla., but had also spent time growing up in Berlin where they met years earlier. Upon returning home after serving his country, Dick was the proprietor of Wetmiller's Market in Berlin. Like other returning veterans, he joined the local American Legion and was at one time, Commander of Post 445 and president of the Veteran's Home Association. Dick was well known in town and started his career at The First National Bank of Berlin. His potential was tapped when he was offered the position of assistant cashier in 1959. He was soon elevated to cashier and quickly sought to learn all he could about the business of banking. He spent many nights at banking school and was involved in banking conferences and organizations. Dick was active in community and civic organizations, and was president of the Berlin Lions Club and a member of the Berlin Volunteer Fire Department. He later served on the board of education for Berlin Brothersvalley Schools and was president of the Consistory at Trinity United Church of Christ. Dick enjoyed golfing and was an original member of the Indian Lake Golf Club and later was a member at the Somerset Country Club. His passion was first his family, but his banking career, beginning with The First National Bank of Berlin, was a close second. As he guided the growth of the bank, it branched into local communities and was an early player in mergers and acquisitions. Eventually the bank became First National Bank of Somerset County. As a result of continued growth, the bank evolved into National Bank of Western Pennsylvania (NBWP) where he continued as president and CEO until his retirement on Dec. 31, 1990. Under his leadership the bank grew from one of the smallest in Somerset County to the largest at the time of his retirement. Dick orchestrated his final big deal when the bank merged with long-time, same-town rival, the Philson National Bank. This venture became First Philson Bank and in present day, it is part of FNB Corp. While Dick was well known in Berlin, he also became visible throughout Pennsylvania. He was active in the Pennsylvania Bankers Association (PBA) and proudly served in various capacities, including chairman of Group 8 (Western Pa. banks) and as a member of both the Agricultural Committee and Governing Council. A high point of his career was in 1974 when he was chairman of the PBA Convention in Atlantic City. Not only was he responsible for the entire convention, it was attended by two of his sons, George and Mark, who had both joined NBWP. The keynote speakers were Barry Goldwater and Joe Paterno, and Dick spent time with both luminaries — picking them up at the airport, settling them into their hotel rooms and transporting them back to the airport. Dick was also active in the American Bankers Association and served in Washington on the Community Banking Council. He was known as innovative, tenacious, and driven to success, and was an extremely knowledgeable banker's banker. In the midst of his busy professional career, Dick and Shirley raised four venturous sons: David, George, Mark and Marty. The Rev. David had two sons, Jon (Kerry), and Tim. David passed away unexpectedly on July 22, 1998. George and his wife Alicia have a son, Eric (Cyndi), and two daughters, Jennifer and Alyson. Mark married Melody Duppstadt and their daughters, Lindsey (Tim), and Madison were the first Wetmiller girls in 96 years. Marty married Sherry Gross and like his father has four sons, Alex, Andy, Ben and Nick. Dick also had four great-grandchildren, Sam, Henry, Matthew and Meredith. Upon retirement in January of 1991, Dick and Shirley moved to their dream location in Boca Grande, Fla. As was his life in Berlin, Dick quickly became a familiar figure on the island. He was active in the United Methodist Church and a member of the Boca Grande Pass Club. Most of his time was spent in the sun, on his golf cart, "fighting" with his schnauzer "Rocky," or dining every Saturday night at "The Temp," where he knew most everyone and most everyone knew him. In addition, he enjoyed visits by family and friends and socializing with new friends on the island. In 2003 Dick and Shirley moved to Cape Haze, Fla., returning to Boca Grande on a regular basis. His mind was sharp up to his final days. He read several newspapers daily and was well versed and opinionated on world events, politics, sports and business news. He was an engaging and intelligent participant in conversations on virtually any topic. He will be sorely missed by his family and all who knew him. Memorial services will be held at the Boca Grande United Methodist Church, Boca Grande, Fla., and at Trinity United Church of Christ, Berlin, at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, the family recommends memorial contributions be given to the Suncoast Humane Society at www.suncoasthumane.org. Lemon Bay Funeral Home and Cremation Services has been selected to handle the arrangements. You may express your condolences to the family at lemonbayfh.com.