Baylor Mourns Passing of Faithful Alumnus and Former Regent

Nov. 17, 2011
News Photo 5325Baylor alumnus and former Baylor Regent W. Dewey Presley of Dallas passed away Nov. 9 at the age of 93.

The Baylor University family grieves the loss of W. Dewey Presley of Dallas, who passed away Nov. 9 at the age of 93. A faithful steward and committed Christian, Presley has left a rich legacy that will not be forgotten by the Baylor community. He was predeceased by his beloved wife, Virginia Shepperd Presley.

Presley began the pursuit of his God-given calling as an Accounting major at Baylor University, unknowing of how deeply his Baylor roots would grow. In 1939, Presley and his wife both earned bachelor degrees, beginning a Baylor legacy that would be carried forth by all three of their daughters and several grandchildren.

"Much esteem is due W. Dewey Presley," Baylor President Ken Starr said. "To the Baylor community and beyond, he leaves a legacy of service to others and integrity in all of his pursuits. The meaningful impact from his years at Baylor will continue to influence students, faculty, staff and alumni for generations."

Presley served as a member of the Baylor Board of Regents from 1988 to 1993 and served as the chairman of the board of Baylor University and Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas. He was the third recipient in Baylor's history of the Founders Medallion, the University's most distinguished award, which is reserved for men and women whose service and contributions have been unusually significant to the life and future of the University. Presley was named the 1967 outstanding alumnus of Baylor's Hankamer School of Business, was a Distinguished Alumni Award recipient in 1968 and received the George W. Truett Distinguished Church Service Award in 1999. He and his wife also were honored as recipients of the 1999 W. R. White Meritorious Service Award in recognition of their devotion to the University.

A man of great achievements and unwavering generosity, Presley also was esteemed in the professional community. Upon the beginning of World War II, Presley's poor eyesight prevented his enlistment in the U.S. Navy, so he joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation where he worked diligently for the next 10 years. In 1949, Presley began his career in banking as a trust officer at First National Bank in Dallas, then the largest bank in Texas. After more than a decade of service, he was appointed president and held that position until First International Bancshares, Inc. was formed in 1972. As president of First International Bancshares (later InterFirst Corp.) Presley expanded the reach of the holding company and grew the organization to the largest bank group in the Southwest before his retirement at the age of 60.

For the remainder of his life, Presley persisted as an ardent civic-leader, committed to volunteerism, and a devoted member of Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas. The impact of his life on his local community and Baylor University is far-reaching and his legacy, unforgettable.

W. Dewey Presley is survived by his three daughters, Charlotte Presley Taylor (BA '65) and husband G. Dudley III, Suzanne Presley Griffin (BA '67) and Rachel Presley Anderson (BA '71) and husband John (BS '71; MD '73, Baylor College of Medicine); brother, Jim Presley; and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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