Former bank president dies

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 23, 2009

VIDALIA — The man credited with making Concordia Bank and Trust what it is today died Wednesday at age 90.

When Travis Gore started working at Concordia Bank in 1959, the bank was worth $6 million. When he retired as president in 1996, the bank had more than $350 million in assets.

He became bank president in 1979 and left the bank as President-emeritus in 1998.

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Concordia Bank President Pat Biglane said Gore had a tremendous influence on those who worked under and after him at Concordia Bank.

“He was a mentor to me and to everybody that worked with him at the bank,” Biglane said. “He was the true definition of a community banker — when you think of a community banker, you think of Mr. Gore.”

Delta Bank President Cliff Merritt said that, when he moved back to the area to work for one of Concordia Bank’s competitors, Gore was one of the first people to welcome him back.

“When you had to learn about banking and you looked around the state, you looked to Mr. Gore,” Delta Bank President Cliff Merritt said. “His leadership through the years put that bank through to be one of the biggest community banks in the state.”

In 1994, Gore’s peers in the banking industry recognized him for just that, and he was named the Louisiana Community Banker of the Year.

Under Gore’s leadership, Concordia Bank moved from its main branch — now Vidalia City Hall — to its current Carter Street address in 1984.

But Gore’s influence extended beyond the bank.

Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland said Gore was an instrumental behind-the-scenes figure on major Vidalia projects, such as bringing Fruit of the Loom to the area, the hydro plant and riverfront development.

“I would call him on different occasions and discuss issues,” Copeland said. “He advised me many times and gave his opinion on what would be for the betterment of Vidalia.

“He was very well-liked, and he will be sorely missed.”

Gore was a deacon at First Baptist Church in Vidalia, where he was an active member, and served four years in the military, three of which were overseas during World War II.

His wife, Nigel, three children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild survive him.

His funeral will be 3 p.m. Friday at First Baptist Church in Vidalia, with visitation beginning at 1 p.m.