A prominent fixture in local banking is retiring next week after nearly 43 years on the job.
Senior Vice President Jimmy Bruce's last day at United Community Bank in downtown Dawsonville is Dec. 31.
"That's also my birthday," he said.
Bruce, a Dawson County native, was hired as a teller trainee in 1969 at the then Dawson County Bank after graduating from the University of Georgia.
"I wasn't sure what I was going to do after college, and then bank management called and offered me a job," he said. "I never planned to be a banker, but it fit me."
Friends and colleagues agree.
"Jimmy is one of the most respected members of this community," said Jeff Tanner, who works with him at the bank. "He helped build the customer base at Dawson County Bank and is the reason United Community Bank is so prominent in Dawson County today."
Bruce is one of a handful who was with Dawson County Bank when United Community Bank took over in 2000.
"There's a whole group of us that are still here or retired in the last few years," he said.
Joan Talley has worked with Bruce for the last 33 years and admits the bank won't be the same without him there each morning.
"I'm so happy for him, but it's bittersweet. It's like a family member moving away from home," she said. "The bank will go on, but it will be different without Jimmy here."
Bruce is optimistic it's his time to retire.
"I don't have any specific plans. I'd like to do some traveling out west and there's a couple of projects in the yard I'd like to do," he said.
The community is invited to bid Bruce farewell at his retirement reception from 3 to 5 p.m. Dec. 30 at the downtown branch.