Community banker Lon Rylander dies

Lon Rylander

Longtime Minnesota community banker Lon Rylander passed away Sept. 9. Rylander had been CEO of First State Bank of Ashby, which became part of Alexandria-based Viking Bank in 2019.  

Born in 1956, Rylander came into banking unexpectedly in 1980 after his father passed away and left his mother to manage the bank on her own. Rylander’s parents, Glen and Lorraine, purchased the First State Bank of Ashby in 1966. 

Rylander had been in his mid-20s at the time, managing an auto body shop in Fergus Falls and doing specialty construction. “I was the youngest of five and she had already spoken with the other four before she asked me,” he said in a 2018 interview. 

Rylander had no banking education but was assured by his mother that she could teach him what he needed to know. He worked at another bank for three months to learn the basics, e.g., the difference between debits and credits. “I was very green around the edges when I started at the bank. As a matter of fact, I was once referred to as a ‘kid in a candy shop,’” he recalled in 2018.

Rylander has long been active with the Independent Community Bankers of Minnesota. He served on the ag and rural Minnesota committees, served as chair of the membership committee, and was the association’s 2018-19 chair.

Rylander is survived by his wife, Anita, and two sons.