Thomas Wesley Herbst, former president and CEO of First State Bank of Jasper, passed away on January 8. He was 87.
After earning a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Texas in 1956, he worked for the Ethyl Corp. in Houston before returning to Jasper to work for the First State Bank in 1959. He returned to school during summers and became an honor graduate of the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University in 1964. Herbst took over as president and CEO of the First State Bank of Jasper in 1970 and remained there until his retirement in 1998. When the bank was sold to First Bank & Trust, he stayed on as an advisory director from 1999 to 2003.
Herbst had a long, successful career in the banking industry. He was a member of the Texas Bankers Association (TBA), for which he served as a director from 1985 to 1987 and again from 1990 to 1991. He was the Community Bankers Council chairman in 1980 and served on various TBA committees, from long-range planning to lender liability to government relations. He was an advisory director of the Community Banker Division of the American Bankers Association from 1981 to 1984. Locally, Herbst served as the director of the Deep East Texas Savings & Loan Association from 1975 to 1983. He was a partner in the Jasper Insurance Agency from 1960 to 1988.
Herbst was actively involved in the Jasper community as a member of the Lions Club since 1959 and the Dewitt Clinton Masonic Lodge #29 since 1976. He was voted “Outstanding Young Man of Jasper” in 1962. He served as director and treasurer of the Jasper Economic Development Corp., was president of the Jasper County Industrial Development Corp., director of the East Texas Chamber of Commerce, president of the Jasper Chamber of Commerce and a City of Jasper council member.
He was an active, lifelong member of the First United Methodist Church of Jasper, and prior to his death, held the distinction of being the oldest living church member. He held the position of church treasurer for 20 years. He was also trustees chairman and finance chairman, and served on numerous committees, including the building committee and board of stewards. He also enjoyed teaching Sunday school.
According to his obituary, Herbst “loved people and never met a stranger. He was patient kind, and treated all people with equally great respect. He was always willing to help anyone in need with financial assistance, financial advice or to set up a loan program custom tailored for any budget. Tom made a difference in the lives of countless people in the days when banking was done with a quick survey of checking accounts and a handshake. He helped people set up businesses, buy cars, finance homes and save for a secure future. He made a lasting impression on all who met him. The world was a kinder, gentler, happier place because of him.”
Survivors include his wife of 64 years, Iris Ruth Pool Herbst of Jasper, daughter Kim Steinhagen and husband Roy of Beaumont, and granddaughters Anna and Emily Steinhagen; nephews Randy Herbst and wife Debbie of Jasper, Rusty Herbst and wife Robin of Hudson; Ray Herbst and wife, Robin, of Leander; John Herbst and wife Suzanne, of Austin; brother-in-law John Pool and wife Janet of Sam Rayburn; nephews Kendall Ernst and husband Carter of Conroe; and Charles Christopher Pool of Conroe. Tom is preceded in death by his parents; Edgar and Mildred Herbst; son Charles Cade Herbst, brother, Edgar Frank Herbst, Jr., and brother Robert Miles Herbst.