DEATH CLAIMS CAPT. LYERLY, LOCAL BANKER
For Years One of
IN FAILING HEALTH FOR SEVERAL MONTHS
Important Factor in Upbuilding of Community – Funeral Services Will Be
Held Wednesday Morning.
Capt. Charles A. Lyerly, aged 78, one of
All members of the immediate family in the city were at the bedside when he passed away.
Capt. Lyerly is survived by two daughters, Mrs. Z. C. Patten, Jr., Mrs
Irene Lamb; two sons, Maj. Ballard Lyerly and Charles A. Lyerly, Jr.; four
grandchildren, Lowery H. Lamb, Jr., Walter E. Lamb, Mrs. Gloria Lamb Greene,
Miss Dorothy Patten; a brother, Lonzo Lyerly,
Funeral services will be held Wednesday morning, the arrangements for
which will be announced later. Z. C. Patten, Jr., who was in
Capt. Lyerly had been a leader in the financial business and civic affairs since his arrival here thirty-eight years ago. Besides being president of the First National bank, he was president of the First Trust Savings bank, treasurer of O. B. Andrews company, vice-president of Summerville Cotton mills, vice president of the Southeastern Express company, president of the First National bank at Fort Payne, Ala., director of the Alabama Great Southern railroad, director of the Tennessee Power company, and had many other business interests.
At an early age Capt. Lyerly entered in the Confederate army and served with distinction. He was a member of N. B. Forrest camp. When the government organized the reserve bank system he was appointed a member of the advisory council and served with great ability. He also served several terms as president of the chamber of commerce.
Capt. Lyerly always took lively interest in political affairs and served
several terms as president of the board of councilmen during the old bicameral
government system in
Capt. Lyerly was a member of the
Sketch of Career of Capt. Lyerly.
Charles Abner Lyerly was born in
Was a Lover of Fellowman.
While Capt. Lyerly might well have been regarded as a typical, in many
respects, an ideal banker, he was never all banker. Many persons would have
readily and properly accorded him the honor of being dean of the banking
Herbert Spencer speaks of a great man, the secret of whose greatness was that when he entered his oratory he closed his laboratory, and when he entered his laboratory, he closed his oratory. It was thus in large measure that Capt. Lyerly for more than thirty-two years held front rank in Chattanooga business life; Chattanooga upbuilding; civic welfare promotion, and was yet accounted a sincere friend of the entire people. When he entered the bank, he was every inch a banker; when he left the bank he became in broad sense a public-spirited citizen, neighbor, friend, well-wisher to all mankind.
As a neighbor, friend and well-wisher, he did not content himself with the passive qualities and conduct which may entitle him to be so ranked in a way, but he assumed the positive relation and became a wise counselor to his home people and to a much wider circle. It will be recalled that not infrequently he took time to make kindly suggestions about practical, every-day affairs, and his counsels were wise and sympathetic in marked measure. Not long since, he made public, upon his own volition, a bit of pertinent advice which somewhat surprised many of his friends and business acquaintances, no doubt, but after taking a long breath in contemplation of it, the consensus was, “Capt. Lyerly is just right about it, but it certainly took courage for a man in his position to come out and say those things.”
His suggestion was that the people ought to be given respite from the too frequently occurring “drives” of that period. What he said must have proven a considerable stimulus to the community chest movement.
When admonition seemed to him requisite in either public or private affairs, he did not hesitate to admonish, and he knew quite well how to do so trenchantly, if needs were. It required no deep learning in human character, nor special study in physiognomy as its insignia, to render perfect assurance that there were other elements than placidity and urbanity in his mental and spiritual organism. Those eyes of his, betimes sparkling with fun and good humor, always with intelligent appreciation of what was going on about him, were quite capable of dashing warning that what is often described by the term, “foolishness,” was not in order and would be distinctly dangerous. If vigorous protest or scathing denunciation became the appropriate order, he was fully equipped for the emergency, and if fight seemed inevitable, he was not at all incapable of meeting the inevitable efficiently.
Generosity One of Leading Traits.
Generosity was a trait of his character which appeared to be second nature, but he never assumed the offensive role of professional benevolence. “Philandering philanthropy” was entirely foreign to his nature. His left hand was not kept unduly advised as to the doings of his right hand. Years ago, a man who had seemed prosperous and lived after the manner of prosperous men, died, and, as friends soon learned, left his family in circumstances of immediate embarrassment. Hugh Whiteside and another undertook by hurried canvass among friends to bridge over the immediate emergency for them. When Capt. Lyerly was approached, he, without comment, contributed a sum considerably in excess of what was expected. The suggestion was made to him that less would be regarded as entirely reasonable, but he ignored the suggestion, simply remarking: “I know the family, and am not surprised. I’m glad you gave me the opportunity.”
Conservatism is a quality always associated in the popular mind with the
efficient banker and the banking business, but as men are more and more
appreciating these days, there is sometimes an excess of conservatism which
proves a heavy handicap to legitimate business and prevents or retards community
growth. It has acquired in
Pausing for a moment to recall a few men of earlier days who were most
intimately associated with banking in
William P. Rathburn, Theodore G. Montague, Charles A. Lyerly – a triumvirate who will stand out in bold relief before students of Chattanooga history for many years to come.
by Dennis C. Wilson