Fort Collins banker Tom Gleason dies

FORT COLLINS — Longtime Fort Collins banker, booster and benefactor Tom Gleason has died.

Gleason, 91, served as president of First National Bank during a period of major growth for the community. He died Thursday, May 9, and his funeral will be 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, at St. Joseph Catholic Church.

Gleason was born in 1928 in Iowa and he came to Fort Collins in 1956. He worked his way up the ranks at First Interstate Bank, which was owned then by a Los Angeles holding company. He and some investors in 1990 bought the Fort Collins bank and renamed it First National Bank.

Gleason was well known in not just the banking community but with business generally. He was said to be generous with his time and with his and the bank’s resources. He won the Collins Award, the top award given by the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce each year. He was inducted into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame in 2006. The hall noted his support for Colorado State University, which honored him with a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree. BizWest presented him with the Bravo! Entrepreneur Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001.

Gleason turned over management of the bank in 1994 to Mark Driscoll, it’s current CEO. But even after that, he maintained an office at the bank and continued his involvement in the community.

Driscoll, who worked with Gleason from 1980 until 2006 when Gleason retired, said he was his mentor in banking and in life. “He gave me three pieces of advice when I started with the bank. First, payday is on the first and the 15th, don’t do any dumb deals and you make money by not losing money.”

Gleason was always “giving back,” Driscoll said. “He was incredibly generous but he gave in secret. He was remarkable that way. He always said a bank was only as strong as its community and its customers and if the community is doing well, we’ll do well,” Driscoll said.

Driscoll described his signature project as when he put together the deal to bring local ownership to the bank. It was the 1980s and during a recession. “He couldn’t have picked a worse time, but it was brilliant how he put that together.”

Gleason is survived by his wife of 65 years, Ginnie; daughter Toni Brant; son Tim Gleason; two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Editor’s note: This story was updated with comments from Mark Driscoll.

FORT COLLINS — Longtime Fort Collins banker, booster and benefactor Tom Gleason has died.

Gleason, 91, served as president of First National Bank during a period of major growth for the community. He died Thursday, May 9, and his funeral will be 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, at St. Joseph Catholic Church.

Gleason was born in 1928 in Iowa and he came to Fort Collins in 1956. He worked his way up the ranks at First Interstate Bank, which was owned then by a Los Angeles holding company. He and some investors in 1990 bought the Fort Collins bank and renamed it First National Bank.

Gleason was well known in not just the banking community but with business generally. He was said to be generous with his time and with his and the bank’s resources. He won the Collins Award, the top award given by the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce each year. He was inducted into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame in 2006. The hall noted his support for Colorado State University, which honored him with a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree. BizWest presented him with the Bravo! Entrepreneur Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001.

Gleason turned over management of the bank in 1994 to Mark Driscoll, it’s current CEO. But even after that, he maintained an office at the bank and continued his involvement in the community.

Driscoll, who worked with Gleason from 1980 until 2006 when Gleason retired, said he was his mentor in banking and in life. “He…