Morris F. Neighbor, former owner of Farmers Sate Bank of Marion, Iowa, died Feb. 11. He was 100 years old.
After serving in World War II, where he helped to liberate the Mauthausen concentration camp, and was awarded a Bronze Star, Neighbor got a job with the Farmers State Bank as a teller. He worked his way up at the bank, and in 1968, he and his wife Betty, purchased controlling interest in the bank.
Morris Neighbor served as CEO of FSB until 1999, when his middle son, Doug, became president and CEO. Then, after serving for more than 45 years as chairman of the board, he was named board chairman emeritus in 2015 when youngest son, Gene, took the reins as FSB’s president and CEO. At the same time, eldest son Kent assumed the role of chairman, while Doug moved into the role of vice chairman. Morris remained active in his role as chairman emeritus until his death.
In 1995, Morris Neighbor received the 50-Year Banker Honor from the Iowa Bankers Association.
Neighbor was involved in numerous civic efforts including serving as past president of the Marion YMCA, past chairman of the Metropolitan YMCA, and past board member of The Linn County Fair. He was a 50-year member of the Marion American Legion Post #298, Marion Masons #548 Trojan Lodge, charter member of the Alburnett Lions Club, Alburnett Historical Society and Alburnett Fire Department, and a member of the Alburnett Christian Church. In 2002, he was inducted into the Marion Independent School District’s Hall of Fame for his generous support in both education and in the city of Marion.
Throughout his career, Morris Neighbor made many major philanthropic donations to the public libraries in Marion, Cedar Rapids and Hiawatha, the Marion and Cedar Rapids Metro YMCAs, the Marion and Alburnett Historical Museums, St. Luke’s Hospital, Linn-Mar and Marion School Foundations, the Alburnett Community Foundation and Lowe Park in Marion. His belief in giving back to the community is something sons Kent, Doug and Gene continue to this day.
According to his longtime friend and customer Jim Dyer,“Marion lost a great banker and friend in “Morry.” His efforts helped put Marion on the map. He helped many businesses succeed in life, and we were one of them. I know his family will carry on with his great banking traditions, and they have big shoes to fill. Morris was one of a kind, and will be missed by all of us!
FSB is Linn County’s largest family-owned financial institution with current assets approaching $800 million. FSB has six locations including its main facility in Marion, along with offices at Collins Road Square, Edgewood Plaza Mall, Van Buren Village, Hiawatha and Alburnett.