By Dana Delgado
These are good times for Roberta Elmore with good reason.
The affable banking executive was named in mid-April as a Vice President and Loan Officer of the Classic Bank in Liberty Hill by Richard Earl Williams, Jr., President of Classic Bank. She started to work May 5.
“I’m excited to be here,” she said. “There are all kinds of opportunities to help people. There is so much growth going on and the potential is unreal. My job is to say yes in the best interests of the bank and the client. I couldn’t be happier being here at Liberty Hill.”
Mrs. Elmore is a veteran of the banking business with over 30 years of experience. She comes to Liberty Hill from the Granbury area where she spent the last 25 years as Consumer and Commercial lender with experience in interim construction lending.
She got her start in banking during a summer job while still in college. All she had ever known was working on a farm so she hoped to get some experience in the business world. After mentioning to her grandmother who happened to know the bank president at Commerce Bank in Austin, Mrs. Elmore was hired in the bookkeeping department.
“It was great,” she said. “I realized people had checking accounts.”
Mrs. Elmore would return at the next semester break to learn about credit card accounts and energy royalties. After graduating from college, she spent three years working in the Fort Worth-Dallas area before settling in Granbury.
While in Granbury, Mrs. Elmore established herself as a community leader with extensive involvement in a variety of community organizations and activities.
“It’s where my heart is,” Mrs. Elmore said. “Kids are our future. If you can turn one kid around, it’s all been worth it.”
Her wealth of community experience includes being one of the founders of the Hood County Boys and Girls Club where she served as President and Board Member. Mrs. Elmore is also past President and Board Member of Lake Granbury Kiwanis Club and served on the Board of the Hood County Christmas for Children Program, which worked with the community to present 3,500 children with Christmas gifts including 400 bicycles and 100 beds.
One year, one high school student who was among the football athletes helping organize the gifts for distribution brought Mrs. Elmore to tears. She learned that he didn’t have a bed and here he was helping others.
“It broke my heart,” she said.
Mrs. Elmore moved quickly to make sure that this student-athlete had what he needed. Within a few days, a new bed complete with bedding was delivered to his home along with clothes, movies, cologne and a fishing pole.
“These things are close to my heart,” she said.
Mrs. Elmore also served on the Census Committee of Hood County and was a Board Member of the Planning and Zoning Board in Tolar where she resided.
In addition, she is the current President of the Howard Payne University Baseball Booster Program in Brownwood. Her son, John, is entering his senior season as the starting third baseman. This past season he was named Honorable Mention All-Conference and is playing alongside Liberty Hill High School alum Jake Sadler.
Although new to Classic Bank, Mrs. Elmore is no stranger to the Liberty Hill area.
She is a 1979 graduate of Florence High School and a 1984 graduate of Tarleton State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Business.
Her family goes back for generations in the area. She was born in Mahomet, a small community outside of Bertram and near Sycamore Springs, a now lost community that her family (the Smart Family) help found in the 1850’s.
“It is so nice to be back in the area,” she said. “We still have a ranch along the Lampasas River up Hwy 183 that has been in the family since 1854.”
Mrs. Elmore attended Bertram School when Bertram had its own school district. Her mother, Madge McCormick, a life-long teacher taught at Bertram while her father, John A. Smith, was an electrician at Fort Hood. Her aunt had been her first grade teacher. However, when the Bertram and Burnet school districts consolidated, her mother went to teach in Florence and took her daughter with her for her fourth grade year.
At Florence, Mrs. Elmore was involved in a host of activities. She was in Future Farmers of America, competed in academic competitions, was a twirler, and was in poetry and athletics.
At 5’8,” she was a talent to be reckoned in volleyball, tennis and track but she particularly loved basketball.
“I loved every sport,” she said. “I came early and stayed late because I wanted to go further.”
She would go much further. After being scouted by then head basketball coach Jan Lowery of Tarleton State University, Mrs. Elmore was invited to join the team in the fall of 1979 after making quite an impression in pre-season workouts.
“Workouts in college were something else,” she said. “I’d never worked so hard and I’d grown up on a ranch. It was a big change. I remember getting my game leather bag and my first pair of leather high-top sneakers. In high school, we had always worn converse sneakers.”
The team would be nationally ranked.
“We played the old game rules at first where there were six players on a team, three of which played offense and the other three played defense and we couldn’t cross half-court,” Mrs. Elmore said. “Title IX changed all that and we played full court, five on five the next year.”
Although decades have passed, the closeness of team, the camaraderie has not waned.
“I have stayed in contact with many of the players and we even have reunions but I love and admire that woman (Coach Lowery),” Mrs. Elmore said.
Coach Lowery was Coach of the Year for 12 of the 15 years Tarleton was in the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association and won 13 of the 15 TIAA Conference Championships. Her teams were ranked 11 years and graduated 90 percent of its players in her 20-year tenure. Coach Lowery went on to coach in the then newly formed professional American Basketball League and returned to Texas to coach at Lewisville High School.
While she and her husband are in the process of moving back to the area, Mrs. Elmore is staying with her mother who still lives in Mahomet while her husband is overseeing the sale of their properties in Tolar, and is looking into relocating his tree and stump grinding business.
When the couple first married, they ran a feed store in Granbury but soon found out that most customers needed tree service which they had been doing on the side along with other services. So, the couple followed the demand and opened a tree service with a special focus on stump grinding.
“He’s a jack of all trades,” said Mrs. Elmore about her husband of 25 years. “It’s just been so hard being apart these last few months.”