KAUFMAN, Texas — When Guinn Godwin first went to work for American National Bank in Terrell in 1951, he hoped he would make it a month before he was fired. 68 years later, no one has managed to fire him or convince him to retire. Today, on his 95th birthday, Godwin is officially the oldest working banker in Texas.
While the banking and financial industry has changed substantially over the years, one thing has remained constant, Godwin’s devotion to his customers or his “friends” as he likes to call them.
“Been real fortunate to know a lot of good people over the years. I have a lot of friends – good friends – who know I will do whatever I can to help them,” Godwin tells inForney.com from his front porch where he likes to spend most of his time off.
Aside from Hershey’s chocolate bars and Coca Cola, Godwin says his work has been his secret to longevity.
“There isn’t a morning that goes by that I am not ready to get to work,” Godwin says. “It keeps me young and able. Lot of people counting on me, and I am not going to let them down.”
Godwin was born and raised in the Styx community. He attended Stubbs community schools and later served in the United States Army during WWII. Since 1947 he has lived in Kaufman and been a faithful member of the First Presbyterian Church. He has been married for 72 years to his wife, Jack Godwin, who is also retired from the banking industry. Together they have two children, four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren and host of other family and friends.
Along with his work at the bank, Godwin has also been involved in cattle ranching with his son Skip since the early 1970s. The father and son team were recently featured on the national television series, Cowboy Way in an Episode that profiled Skip Godwin Cattle Company and his Kaufman operation.
Godwin attempted to retire nearly 20 years ago. His retirement lasted a lengthy 5 days before Godwin was back at the bank working four days a week.
“I wasn’t cutout for retirement,” Godwin says. “I fired myself from that job.”
Godwin still works part time at the Kaufman branch of American National Bank. His office is regularly full of “friends” holding court over the day’s news. And while Godwin knows nothing about online banking or debit cards, he says he doesn’t need to.
“Banking is not about money. Banking is about people,” he says.
“That’s why I have never been fired. I love people too damn much.”