Charles E. (Chick) Moyer - June 01, 2014Charles E. “Chick” Moyer, 88, died peacefully with family at his side on Sunday, June 1, 2014. He was born Oct. 25, 1925 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania to Charles C. and Oney (Varner) Moyer. Johnstown was steel country. As a youth it was at nearby Berkley Hills Golf Course where Chick developed his love for the game of golf. He retrieved lost golf balls, caddied and cleaned clubs. There he also observed many recognized men in the golf and business community which proved to be formative influences on his life.
After graduation from Johnstown Senior High School in 1942, Chick entered Indiana State Teachers College under an accelerated program offered due to World War II. The second semester at ISTC offered tuition help through the Army Specialized Training Program designed to keep men in four years of college and then to Officer Candidate School. Due to the intensity of the war with Germany and the heavy casualties resulting in the need for immediate infantry replacements, the ASTP was abandoned. Chick, along with the other male students, volunteered for the Army at the end of the semester.
After training in Camp Wheeler (Georgia) and Camp Shelby (Mississippi) the 69th Infantry Division shipped out for England in November 1944. Chick was assigned to the Intelligence Reconnaissance Platoon, Headquarters Command, 1st Battalion, 273rd Regiment. The platoon’s primary responsibility was to go on patrols to locate enemy lines and make radio reports back to HQ. They served as replacements for the many soldiers lost in the Battle of the Bulge, pushing the enemy back into Germany. By February of 1945, the 69th had reached the Siegfried Line, seeing some of the most difficult weather and terrain situations of the war. With hard fought victories, they advanced to the Rhine and eventually linked up with the Russians at the Elbe River in Germany. That event led to the historic Victory in Europe Day, May 8, 1945. During the ensuing occupation of Germany, Chick managed a gas depot in Heidelberg until his honorable discharge in the spring of ’46.
Upon his return to Johnstown, he purchased his first vehicle and began applying to colleges. In July 1946 he drove out to Lincoln to visit a war buddy who was convalescing there. He started playing golf at Pioneer Golf Course and made new friends who introduced him to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Chick enrolled, pledged Sigma Nu Fraternity, majored in Economics, and was elected to the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa for his academic achievements. Following graduation he accepted a position with General Electric in Schenectady, New York. After a year back East, however, he realized he wanted to return to his friendships in Nebraska. Following graduate school at UNL, Chick accepted a position with the Nebraska Department of Banking as a Bank Examiner, a move which would determine the course of his life.
It was in Lincoln that he met Donna Lee Bilon, daughter of Dr. E.E. and Peg Bilon of Grand Island. The couple married May 11, 1951 following her graduation from UNL, and made their first home together in Grand Island. The couple has five children: Craig and Jane Moyer of Grand Island, Bob and Judy Moyer of Arizona, Sam and Mindy Moyer of Aurora, Matt and Karen Moyer of Omaha, and Sara and Steve Arnett of Wood River. Chick thoroughly enjoyed his fourteen grandchildren: Scott and Tom Moyer (Colorado), Townsend Culpepper (Tennessee), Chris (Omaha), Steven and Michelle Moyer (New York), Emily Jasnowski, Cam and Tess Moyer (Aurora), Drew, Alexa and Tate Moyer (Omaha), Maggie, Knox and Cole Arnett (Wood River).
In June of 1952 Chick learned that the bank was for sale in Wood River, which seemed like the perfect opportunity. With their savings plus financing from her parents and the First National Bank in Lincoln, they purchased the bank and moved to Wood River. Chick worked long hours, calling on everyone in sight to attract bank customers and sell insurance. His business acumen and driving work ethic led him to later acquire The Stromsburg Bank (1958) and First National Bank & Trust in Aurora (1968) while building successful insurance and real estate agencies as well. He was blessed by excellent business partners along the way who were integral to their successful growth. The five children have all been involved in the bank over the years, with leadership passed onto Sam as CEO and Craig as Director of Sales and many capable shareholder managers. Today Heritage Bank has offices in Aurora, Broken Bow, Doniphan, Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney, Loup City, Neligh, Orleans, Red Cloud, St. Paul, Stromsburg and Wood River with roughly 150 employees. Over the years Chick was more than a “country banker”. His close relationships with valued customers made him a mentor, marriage counselor, confidant and sounding board for many. Chick loved his work, and was always “chasing the rabbit”, even to the end of his life on earth. As he reflected on his beloved Heritage Bank, he stated “The best is yet to come!”
Of his many commitments, one was working with others to cooperatively build the community that he had made home. Together they built the golf course and swimming pool, the Legion building, encouraged street paving and other community beautification efforts. Among his lasting personal contributions is the Veterans Memorial in front of Connor-Benson Post 314 and the Donna Lee Moyer Performing Arts Gift. He was an over 50 year member of the First United Methodist Church, and actively supported the American Legion, VFW, the Wood River Community Centennial Foundation and numerous other organizations. In later years he helped beautify Wood River through several flower gardens. Privately, he was a compassionate man who assisted many in need over the years.
He may be best remembered for his love of the game of golf. Innumerable close friendships were made while golfing, and he treasured those friendships dearly. With his p