Successful businesses and organizations are started by motivated, innovative thinkers. People that don’t simply discuss an idea but those who turn ideas into action. These individuals set the pace and direction for all those who come behind them. They are leaders not by title but by natural ability. For Sullivan Bank, John W. Waller was one of the greatest leaders in our history not only for our bank but also for our hometown.
He was a natural born leader, determined to blaze a path not for himself, but for those that he knew would come after him. If you know the story of John W. Wallers life, you know one of the greatest stories ever told in Franklin county and beyond. To one particular employee (Sulli’n), this story is not just a story but the legacy of his grandfather. Tim S. Waller, grandson to the late John & Esther Waller, joined the staff (SulliFam) at Sullivan Bank this year in 2021.
John W. Waller first came to Sullivan via horse and buggy at six years old. Even as a child, he was ready for business. He established himself as an animal trader, negotiating and even drawing loans from the bank. The bank when Waller was a boy was controlled by the Shaffer brothers. The Shaffer’s were generous and fair men, who deeply inspired Waller in his adolescence. John once stated, “When I was young they had control of the bank and they were very liberal in helping the city meet its needs.”
This influence in his childhood and his insatiable drive for life led him onto numerous life accomplishments that impacted our community deeply. He was a U.S. Navy Pilot and boxer, a varsity collegiate football player, an attorney, a bank president & chairman, an instrumental member of the community, as well as a husband, a father and a grandfather.
Of all of his accomplishments, his family was most important to him. Employees (Sulli’ns) who were fortunate enough to work with him, can all tell you how excited he was the day his first grandchild was born. He swore that nothing could ever recreate the excitement he felt on that day. For a man with such an incredible life story, this is a tremendous statement and should tell you the level of dedication he had to his family.
John W. Waller was instrumental in raising $200,000 in less than three days to bring Sullivan a hospital. Now known as Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital, it has treated thousands of people from local areas. Tim Waller has been treated there for sports injuries over the years and is always privileged and humbled to know his grandfather is a major reason he and other members of the community and surrounding communities have access to this amenity.
Tim S. Waller is the youngest child of Scott and Patty Waller. He attended college at Mizzou and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He enjoys all things sports and community – the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! Some of his favorite sports memories involve one of his best coaches, Mike Hoffman. Hoffman also happens to double as the current President of Sullivan Bank. “Tim is a great kid. He was always a dedicated athlete that pushed through and left it all out there on the field. I had the honor of knowing and working with his grandfather and I am excited to bring Tim into this next generation of bankers. His grandpa was a great man and I am confident Tim will uphold his name and legacy.”
Tim has been inspired by his grandfather’s works for years. His favorite part of growing up with John was hearing all of the stories and things he did for the community. Other than his stories, Tim remembers his grandfather’s admiration of work ethic. Seeing the standards his grandfather held for himself and others, has spurred Tim through life as his biggest motivation for impactful leadership. His grandfather taught him to always be the hardest working person in the room and he lived a life demonstrating that advice.
When asked the classic “what did you want to be when you grew up?”, Tim chuckled and shook his head. He then told me a story about how his grandfather used to joke that Tim would be the banker of the family. To further ensure Tim’s interest in banking, his grandfather would give him cash to count for fun! Tim remembers being frequently given cash to count as part of his “banker training”. We had no idea he started training so early but it explains why he’s such a sharp addition to the team!
John W. Waller saw the bank as an instrumental part of the community that enabled its residents the freedom to start businesses, build homes, pay for education, and support their families. It was more than a business to him, it was part of creating a community. As Tim S. Waller steps up to the plate for Sullivan Bank, we are confident that he will continue to build on the legacy that his grandfather started over 50 years ago. “Having a grandpa that was so passionate about Sullivan has really taught me from a young age to love this town. He believed strong relationships and hard work were the backbone for any kind of success and I plan to make him proud on both fronts. I am honored to work for an institution that my grandpa was so passionate about and I can’t wait to get more involved and make a positive impact in the community.”
At Sullivan Bank, we are honored to remember the influential and genuine leadership of John W. Waller and the new era of innovation and dedication he is still contributing through his grandson, Tim S. Waller.