Paul Pryor has always considered Redwood Falls to be his home.
Although he has not spent his entire life in the place of his birth, the vast majority of those years since Aug. 30, 1930 have included a Redwood Falls mailing address.
“I was born in Redwood Falls and graduated from the high school in 1948,” said Pryor. “I was born in the depression days, and in high school there was the second world war.”
Pryor said his class knew personally the historic times of rationing and the draft, and those things certainly had an impact on their lives.
Of course, the Redwood Falls school district left an impression, as well.
Pryor recalls with fondness his time in his alma mater, saying with pride he had the privilege of playing the trombone for Stanley Lindberg, who wrote the Cardinal rouser.
To this day, Pryor admits there are times when he still gets goosebumps as “We Represent” is played.
“I bet I played that a thousand times,” Pryor said, adding he likely has stood up for it many more times than that since.
Pryor said the school had some great bands in those days, and some of his classmates went on to play professionally. Just about everyone who went on to college kept playing.
Rather than head right to college, Pryor got caught up in the Korean War and served for four years in the United States Air Force.
After completing his military service, Pryor attended St. John’s University and graduated with a degree in economics and business administration in 1958.
After starting his career in Fergus Falls, Pryor was called home to serve as the clerk for the City of Redwood Falls – a position he held for eight years.
In 1966 Pryor was approached by Martin Ehlers and Ed Johnson to come work at the Redwood Falls Savings and Loan.
“Our focus then was on home loans,” said Pryor, adding still today he drives down the streets of Redwood Falls knowing many of the houses are there because of the work of local savings and loan.
Pryor was the president and CEO of the savings and loan when it became HomeTown Bank. During that time the assets grew from $3 million to $200 million. Pryor retired from his role at the bank in 2002.
Pryor recalled a young Redwood Falls High School teacher named Rick Ellingworth bringing his business class down to the bank to learn about home loans from Pryor, and Pryor recalled many of those students coming back over the years to get that first home loan from him.
Pryor said he has always been one to take pride in and show support for the school where he was educated as it continues to fill that role for the generations to come. Pryor said his great aunt Jean Pryor was a member of the first graduating class in Redwood Falls, his dad graduated in 1918 and the fourth generation of Pryors, including Joe, Anne, Mike, Pat and Matt, all are Redwood Falls grads.
Page 2 of 2 - Pryor, who is going to be inducted to the Redwood Valley Hall of Fame in the alumni category May 1, said the feelings he has knowing someone nominated him are hard to explain.
“I am humbled and grateful,” said Pryor, adding as he looks at the names already in the hall he can’t help but be proud knowing so many of his mentors from the community helped pave the way for him and so many others.