The Times West Virginian


June 8, 2014

Walter Layman

Walter Howard Layman, retired president and chairman of the Board of the First National Bank of Romney, died peaceably on Friday (June 6, 2014) with his sister at his side.

Mr. Layman, a community leader, cherished friend, and beloved son, husband, brother, brother-in-law and uncle, was born Oct. 10, 1937, on a farm along Chunk’s Run in Marion County.

He was the son of Howard and Harriett Layman and the brother of James, Winifred, Dan and Lydia. He graduated from Rivesville High School in 1956 and later married the love of his life, Irene Brock, on Dec. 22, 1973. Together, they built a life centered on love of family, gentle kindness, hard work and generosity.

After serving in the U.S. Army as a military policeman, Walter had a long and distinguished financial career that began with Household Finance Corporation in West Virginia and Ohio. He left HFC to join Citizens Bank and Trust Co. of Maryland, a multi-million dollar bank, as a credit manager. He attended the American Institute of Banking in Washington, D.C. and held various positions as an officer in Citizens Bank of Maryland, First Virginia Bank and Lincoln National Bank.

In 1980, he joined FWB Bank in Rockville, Maryland, as Senior vice president, was elected to the board of directors and named chief operating officer. Walter came to Romney in March 1985 as executive vice president and chief executive officer of the First National Bank of Romney. In 1986, he was elected member of the board of directors. In 1988, the bank formed a one-bank holding company and Walter was elected as a director and named president and chief executive officer of both the bank and the holding company, Eastern Bancshares, Inc.

Throughout his life, Walter lived the philosophy, “We take from our communities every day, so we must accept the responsibility to give back in any way we can.”

Walter was a founding member and first president of the Business and Professional Organization of Hampshire County. Through his leadership, the organization took on numerous projects that benefited the community.

Walter was one of the leaders who spearheaded the move to bring the Potomac Eagle Excursion Train to Romney. He later took the lead in raising money to produce a video highlighting Romney and the Potomac Eagle entitled “Where Eagles Fly,” which has been televised nationwide on public television.  

He was also active in economic development serving as vice president and president of the Hampshire County Development Authority. He was a member of the board of directors of the Fort Mill Ridge Foundation in Romney, the Fort Edwards Foundation in Capon Bridge, a member of the local Chamber of Commerce; served on the board of trustees of the United Way; served as a director of the Romney Rotary Club; and was the first club chairman of the PolioPlus program.

In 2004, Walter was named 25th Knight of Olde Hampshire, an award he treasured. In 2009, he was appointed a director of the Hampshire Memorial Hospital and served as chairman of the board of trustees. Most recently, Walter received the county commission recognition for his two decades of accomplishments in community service.

Though Walter attended church in Romney, he remained a lifelong member of his childhood church, the Highlawns United Methodist Church of Rivesville. His deep religious beliefs were shaped by the lessons he learned there: beliefs that guided his life and shaped his desire to make a difference in the lives of others. Though Walter lived a life of accomplishment, he will most be remembered as a good and decent man who loved God, his wife, his extended family, his friends and his community.  

He is preceded in death by his parents, his wife Irene, and three of his siblings.  

He is survived by his sister, Lydia Layman McCue and her husband John, of Charleston; sisters-in law, Shirley Layman and Wanda Brock of Fairmont, Betty Thorn of Moseley, Virginia, and Mary Lou Brock Seftick and her husband Don, of Bridgeport; and nieces, nephews, great-nieces and -nephews, and great-great-nieces and -nephews, all of whom love their Uncle Walt.

Though Walter’s last months were physically challenging, he handled his illness with kindness and patience. The family would especially like to express gratitude to the many friends and care-givers who gave comfort and care to Walter, especially the staff at Hampshire Memorial Hospital and the HMH Extended Care Unit.   

The family will receive friends at the Shaffer Funeral Home, Romney, today from 3-6 p.m. Friends will be received on Monday at DeGarmo Funeral Home, Rivesville from 4-8 p.m.

The funeral service will be Tuesday at DeGarmo Funeral Home, at 11 a.m. with Rev. Stanley Merrifield officiating. Friends will be received from 10 a.m. until time of service. Interment will follow at Arnettsville Cemetery, Arnettsville, West Virginia.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Hampshire Memorial Hospital Long Care Center, 363 Sunrise Blvd., Romney, WV  26757.

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