Samuel Owen Kimberlin, former chief executive officer of the Texas Bankers Association, passed away on November 10 in Austin following a short illness due to COVID.
After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps for two years at the end of World War II, he attended the University of Texas–Austin, graduating with a BBA degree and Bachelor of Law degree. He also graduated from the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University. Kimberlin served Texas and its citizens in several capacities, including as counsel for the Texas Department of Banking from 1956 to 1962, assistant attorney general of Texas from 1954 to 1955 and first assistant district attorney of Travis County, Texas, from 1953 to 1954. Many years later, he served as deputy foreman and later as foreman of grand juries for the 390th Travis County District Court.
In 1962, Kimberlin became executive director of the newly organized Association of State Chartered Banks in Texas. In 1964, at the age of 36, he was elected chief executive officer of the Texas Bankers Association, which had a membership of all but six of the 1,200 state-chartered and national banks located throughout the state. He moved the headquarters of the Texas Bankers Association from Dallas, where it had been located since 1914, to Austin in 1964, and also oversaw construction of a new headquarters building in Austin in 1977.
During his years as the managing officer of the Texas Bankers Association, Kimberlin was a member of the government relations council and the board of directors of the American Bankers Association (ABA), and he served as chairman of the state association division of the ABA. He authored “The Competitive Structure Within Which the Commercial Banking System Operates in Texas” and “The History of Banking in Texas,” as well as numerous articles on banking, in the Texas Bankers Record and Texas Banking, publications of the Texas Bankers Association.
After his retirement from the Texas Bankers Association in 1990, Sam became a consultant to and chairman of the development board for Austin Trust Co. and a member of the board and consultant to Thornhill Securities Inc. He also served six years on the appraisal review board of the Travis Central Appraisal District, for which he was chairman in 1996. After completing his term, he co-authored Fight Your Texas Tax Appraisal and Win.
Kimberlin served on the board of directors of the Austin History Center Association and as board president of the Austin High School Continuing Education Foundation. He was an active member of UT SAGE and was the dean’s appointee to The Third Age Council, a part of the Division of Continuing and Extended Education at the University of Texas. He was a life member of the University of Texas Ex-students Association. Kimberlin was one of the early members of the Headliner’s Club, and was a member of the Austin Club, Austin Country Club and Admirals Club. He was one of the organizers of Tarry House, where he enjoyed playing pitch and tennis with close friends as often as possible.
Throughout his childhood and most of his adult life, Kimberlin was a member of the First United Methodist Church (FUMC), and over the years he sang in the church choir, served on the board of stewards and board of trustees of the FUMC Endowment Fund, and reconciled the FUMC bank accounts monthly. Always seeking continued growth, he immersed himself in his late 80s in the Education for Ministry four-year course at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd. This culminated in his joining the Episcopal Church in 2019 at the age of 91.
Across all of these activities, the source of Sam’s energy came directly from his love for his wife of 64 years, Alison. He cherished their time together, traveling with friends and family on many trips overseas and across the U.S. In later years, these included numerous trips to Alabama to be with their beloved grandchildren. Kimberlin had many gifts, perhaps the greatest of which was his easy connection with other people, often through quick wit and humor. He genuinely liked people, and over a rich and full life drew energy from these many warm and lifelong friendships.
“Our TBA family was deeply saddened this week by the passing of our former chief executive Sam Kimberlin,” says Chris Furlow, current president and CEO of the Texas Bankers Association. “[He] was a historic leader for TBA, beloved by members and respected as a voice for Texas banks for more than a quarter-century. Sam has truly left a lasting legacy for the banking industry in Texas not only through his extraordinary work, but through the meaningful relationships he fostered. TBA’s leadership, members and staff express our deepest condolences to Sam’s wife of 64 years, Alison, their sons Scott and David, as well as their entire family.”
Born in Wichita Falls, Texas in 1928, Sam Kimberlin was a US Marine Corps veteran and University of Texas alumnus. In the 1950s, he served as counsel at the Texas Department of Banking and as Assistant Attorney General of Texas.
He became executive director of the Association for State Chartered Banks (ASCB) in 1962 and following the merger of ASCB and TBA, Sam became TBA’s Executive Vice President (the association’s managing official) in 1964 at age 36. He would serve as TBA’s chief executive until 1990. During that span he spearheaded TBA’s move from Dallas to Austin. He was a dedicated government relations advocate for the industry and served on the board of the American Bankers Association. He earned the confidence of his peers, serving as Chairman of ABA’s State Association Division. Sam was a widely published author on the banking system and was an active community leader during his tenure at TBA and following his retirement.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Stephen F. Austin Continuing Education Foundation, the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd (Austin), or the charity of your choice.