Five days a week, John Remme met with friends for coffee in a local café or restaurant.
The group went back decades and moved from one place to another as companies changed hands or names in a ritual that was practiced until the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had a lot of fun, we closed a lot of cafes,” said Russ Rickers, a friend of Remme and longtime participant, recently.
At Worthington Federal Savings Bank, Remme’s attendance list was similarly flawless.
“I’ve never missed a meeting,” he told The Worthington Globe last year when he retired as chairman of the board of directors.
An integral part of the Bank and Worthington Ward, John S. Remme died at home on April 30, 2021. He was 82 years old.
Remme has been remembered by friends and family as an accomplished but humble person. Over the years Remme belonged to a number of local civic groups and made a career as a bank clerk. He started there 58 years ago as a real estate loan officer. He was elected President and CEO in 1977 and later that year to the Bank’s Board of Directors.
In the course of his career at Remme, the company developed from an institute based primarily on real estate and commercial loans to an institute that, in addition to other financial services, also offered products such as certificates of deposit, checking accounts and money market deposit accounts. It also moved locations twice, the last time in 1976 to a building on 11th Street and Fifth Avenue that Rickers said “is still a memorial today”.
According to Rickers, who got to know Remme as a customer before joining him on the bank’s board, Remme played a key role in the bank’s move to the building where it is still located.
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Remme remained on the bank’s board of directors after stepping down as President and CEO in 2000 and stayed past the required retirement age.
“We changed the rules a bit based on John’s experience and knowledge,” said Doug Tate, the bank’s current president and CEO, in an interview. “We wanted to keep her on the board as long as possible.”
Tate, one of Remme’s recent employees, said he learned from his boss to treat customers and employees well and that the bank will continue to advertise from the inside out, as Remme set out to do.
Remme was born on September 12, 1938 in Luverne, Minnesota, to Stan and Edith Remme. He graduated from Luverne High School and later Worthington Community College and Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD
His marriage to Lavonne Padilla, with whom he had three children, ended in divorce. In 1992 Remme married Patricia Linder, whom he met at a friend’s wedding anniversary party. As a couple, the two were active in many of the same civic organizations and stayed together until his death.
Private and sometimes quiet, Remme stated, according to Linder, that he only had a few hobbies, except perhaps for his coffee get-togethers.
“He said, ‘I don’t hunt. I don’t fish. I don’t play golf. I like to go to nice places to eat and drive a nice car. And that’s all,” she recalled in an interview. “And we’ve gone to beautiful, beautiful places.”
Remme was dedicated to God, who has been a member of the American Lutheran Church since 1963, and his congregation, whom he served through his work and volunteering. He served as president of the Worthington Chamber of Commerce in 1981, served two terms as director of the Minnesota Savings League, and was a two-time recipient of the Worthington Community College Community Service Award, which was a member of the Midday Kiwanis Club from 1969 to 2019, and served from 1972 to 2000 1998 Secretary and Treasurer of the Blue Jay Booster Club at Community College for 26 years, Ambassador to the Chamber of Commerce for 10 years, and founding member of the local Elks Lodge, which he served as Treasurer for 10 years.
“He loved this city and the community. He was about family, faith and the country,” said Linder.
Remme is survived by his wife and children.