By Sarah Naron
ELKHART – A retirement party was held on the afternoon Tuesday, Jan. 30 at Commercial Bank in Elkhart (formerly Elkhart State Bank) in honor of two of the business’s long-term employees.
Helen Sheridan Gordon, wife of Elkhart Mayor Mike Gordon, began working for the bank nearly 44 years ago, while Pam Bridges Blackmon has served just over 41 years.
“We came in to renew a loan one time, my mother and I, and he (Mr. Joe Bailey Parker) asked me if I had put my application in for a job here,” explained Gordon.
Gordon had not applied for a position, but Parker urged her to do so, saying, as she recalled, “Now’s the time to do it.
“So, I did,” she continued. “And that’s kind how it all started.”
Blackmon explained that she, too, was recruited by Parker to join the team.
“He called me and asked me if I wanted a job,” she said.
Having served under the management of both Elkhart State Bank and Commercial Bank, the two women have witnessed a number of changes to the way the bank operates.
“We went from a full-service bank to a branch, so it was quite a bit,” said Gordon.
“It changed it a lot,” agreed Blackmon.
“The teller’s job was completely different,” Gordon said.
“We had bookkeeping then, and now, we don’t,” explained Blackmon. “We kind of do everything. We do the bookkeeping part of it, talk to the customers and do more jobs than we used to.”
Blackmon cited online banking and ATM machines as further changes which she and Gordon have experienced throughout their years in the field.
“The bank world’s just changed,” she said.
Now that they will no longer be working full-time, both ladies have a number of activities lined up to occupy their days.
“Baby-sitting,” said Gordon when asked what her plans entail. “Maybe traveling a little bit.”
Gordon added that she intends to “catch up on some long overdue housework.”
Blackmon, who said her plans include traveling and reading on the porch, echoed the sentiment.
“We’ve been putting that off, (saying), ‘We’ll do that when we retire,” she chuckled.
Blackmon also plans on sleeping later than she was able to do while working.
“I’m going to take long walks, too,” added Gordon. “Get up when I want to; go to bed when I want to.”
Sarah Naron may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.