Embree Easterly, who rose from cashier to president of Capital Bank in the early 1960s and led the bank until the 1980s, died Saturday at The Carpenter House of St. Joseph Hospice.
He was 92.
Visitation will be from noon until a religious service at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Jefferson United Methodist Church. Burial will be at Denham Springs Memorial Cemetery.
Easterly became president of Capital Bank — Baton Rouge’s fifth bank — only a few years after it was founded in the late 1950s.
He quickly became the name and face associated with the bank before retiring in the 1980s as it and other banks fell victim to the oil bust.
He was remembered Tuesday by his son, James Easterly, for his philanthropy, humility and tireless advocacy for Louisiana and community banking.
James Easterly said his father’s successes as a philanthropist stemmed from his approach to people.
“One of his philosophies was that you have to talk to people, and if you talk long enough to somebody you’ll find something in common,” he said. “And he was that way until the end.”
Easterly said his father was humble in the face of his accomplishments.
“He was never one to promote himself,” he said. “He got a deal going and then just let it ride on its own merits. He was not one of those that had to have his name in front of everything, but Baton Rouge is a lot different than it would have been with out him.”
Embree Easterly attended LSU but quit college to get a full-time job to support his ailing parents and sister.
He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II and saw action on Iwo Jima, where he was attached to the 4th Marine Division’s Graves Registration Unit.
He began his 45-year career in banking in the second-lowest position at Capital Bank.
By the time he retired in 1984, he was president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board.
Capital Bank was a $600 million financial institution, though it closed later that decade after losses associated with the oil bust mounted.
Along the way, he was president of the Independent Bankers Association of America and was honored as the first Small Business Banker Advocate of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
He was one of the largest fundraisers for charities in the Baton Rouge community and was one of the founders of Jefferson United Methodist Church in 1958.