First State says goodbye to Baylor Fulton after 45 years

Published 3:25 pm Friday, January 4, 2019

It was in August 1974 that Baylor Fulton walked into First State Bank in Pineville for his very first day

on the job. Forty-five years later, the longevity of his banking career is being honored by the community as he

celebrates retirement.

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Fulton, who worked his way up to senior executive vice president of First State Bank, was honored in a ceremony Friday.

“I’ve done just about everything in a community bank that you would need to do,” he said. “You

work every position at the bank to get the best idea of how a bank runs and to be able to perform any

task if the need occurred.”

Debbie Coleman, special projects clerk for the bank said, “Baylor and I worked together for probably 25

years and he taught me a lot and he gave me the freedom to work because he’s a very good teacher.”

When Fulton began his career, the Pineville location was the bank’s only branch. Since then, it has grown and branched into Claiborne County. He has held several different positions along the way,

including being an assistant cashier to working his way up to senior executive vice president and also

joining the board in 1998.

“I went to work for Mr. Reece, Katherine’s daddy, and he was such a great guy and this place is more

than just a job obviously,” Fulton said. “The bank is really my family, too, and all these people that work here. That’s what keeps you coming to work and being a part of a small bank, even though we’re a

bit larger now. But being a part of a small bank, you become intertwined with the community, just like

your church and anywhere else.”

Coleman said Fulton has “always been understanding and really had the bank as his number one interest and priority,”

Fulton explains retirement as if the years have gone by in a matter of seconds.

“A close friend of mine lived to be 107 years old. She lived down the street and one day, she said, ‘You

know what Baylor, I was a little girl like two weeks ago and I was six years old, but that’s been 100 years

ago.’ It has gone by like that and that’s kind of the way this feels,” he said.

Coleman said no one can replace Fulton.

“I don’t think anybody will ever fill Baylor’s shoes, not the way he did,” she said. “There is someone

coming in to step into his position, and I’m sure he will be a wonderful asset to the bank. But to fill

Baylor’s shoes — no — because you’ll hear stories and stories of some of the comical and amusing things he

did, and that’s just Baylor.”

Coleman says she is sure the bank is going to miss him, just as much as everyone who works with

him daily is going to miss him.

“I’m going to miss seeing the folks every day,” Fulton said. “I’m not going to be very far. I’m still going to

help some and I’m still going to be on the board for a couple of more years. I just won’t be coming into

work every day.”

Fulton is a Bell County native and grew up in Middlesboro. He said he plans on enjoying his retirement

by traveling out west and visiting new places.

As of 4:01 p.m. Friday, he is officially retired.