|Birth: ||Nov. 10, 1886|
|Death: ||May 9, 1970|
Frank B. Bernard, 83, widely known Muncie banker and civic leader, died Saturday morning at Ball Hospital.
His business career spanned 57 years, including 23 years as president of Merchants National Bank. At the time of his death he was vice chairman of the board of directors of Merchants National Bank, an honorary member of the board of directors of American National Bank and Trust Company, and a director of Muncie Federal Savings and Loan Association.
Mr. Bernard was born November 10, 1886, in New Antioch, Ohio, the son of the late John William and Clara Thatcher Bernard. He was educated in the public schools of Clinton County and attended high school at Sabina, Ohio, in 1904.
That year he came to Muncie, attended business college. After graduating in 1905, Mr. Bernard accepted employment as a clerk in the Merchants National Bank of Muncie. He continued in that position for three years. In 1908, Mr. Bernard was graduated from Muncie High School and that same year entered the University of Michigan, taking courses in accountancy and banking. While attending the university he was elected to be a member of the faculty from which he received the A.B. degree in 1912.
Mr. Bernard then became a professional accountant in Chicago, remaining there for about one year. The latter part of 1913 he returned to Muncie to become manager of the savings and investment department of the Merchants National Bank.
In 1916, Mr. Bernard was elected to the bank's board of directors and as vice president. In 1919 the Merchants Trust & Savings Company was organized and he became vice president and director of that institution.
Mr. Bernard became president of Merchants National Bank upon the death of Hardin Roads in 1923. The '20s were years of growth and expansion for the bank. A savings department was organized in March, 1929 and a major remodeling program was undertaken in 1930 to enlarge banking quarters.
But the promise of the twenties were seriously threatened in the depression days of the '30s and Mr. Bernard had the difficult task of guiding Merchants National Bank through perilous financial times. Muncie was more fortunate and more prepared than many communities. Although banks were closed by Presidential order on March 6, 1933, Muncie banks placed no limitation on withdrawals and operated virtually on a "business as usual" basis.
A further expansion of the bank's facilities was necessary as the economy improved. A building north of the present bank was purchased in 1941 and a new addition was constructed. In 1942 the installment loan and savings department moved to new quarters in the north lobby of the main floor.
Mr. Bernard retired as MNB president on January 8, 1946 and was succeeded by Chester C. Wingate. During his term as president of Merchants National Bank and until his recent illness, Mr. Bernard devoted many hours to service outside the banking field.
He was a director of Marhoefer Packing Company, and served terms as secretary, treasurer, vice president and president of the Muncie Chamber of Commerce. He was president of the Indiana Bankers Association in 1930, and a member of the executive council of the American Bankers Association.
Mr. Bernard was treasurer of Ball State at one time and was vice president and director of Ball Hospital and of the Ball State University Foundation. In 1961, he was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree by Ball State. He was instrumental in three fund-raising drives for Ball Hospital, was a member of the Indiana War Finance Commission and the Seventh Federal Reserve District.
In his affiliation with the American National Bank, successor to Merchants Trust and Savings Company, Mr. Bernard served as chairman of the board, vice president and president. At a meeting of the board on February 5, 1970 and under a director retirement program approved by the shareholders, honorary status was conferred on four retiring board members.
Surviving are his wife, Leah; three daughters, Mrs. W.S. Moss Jr., Horse Cave, Ky., Mrs. Jean B. Capp, Indianapolis, and Mrs. Alice Leonard, Washington, D.C.; eight grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter.
Funeral services will be conducted at 2 p.m. Monday in First United Presbyterian Church by Dr. Lewis Weber Gishler. Entombment will be in Elm Ridge Mausoleum. Friends may call at Meeks Mortuary from 2-5 and 7-9 p.m. Sunday.
John William Bernard (1867 - 1895)
Clara Matilda Thatcher Bernard (1869 - 1963)
Gladys Jenney Bernard (1889 - 1959)
Elm Ridge Memorial Park
Created by: Jane
Record added: Mar 26, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 87379319
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Added: Feb. 25, 2014