TORRINGTON – It’s a picturesque scene – a rustic cabin flanked by tall pine trees, near wide, open meadows abundant with wildflowers and just a stone’s throw away from a babbling creek.
That’s what longtime Platte Valley Bank employee Deb Stoeger has in mind as her retirement quickly approaches.
Stoeger, the daughter of Larry and Laverene Barnes, grew up in Torrington. She graduated from Torrington High School, where she began dating her husband, Charles (Chuck).
“He worked for Shain Herefords (near Lingle) – we got married, moved out there west of town,” Stoeger said. “When we were first married, I was a waitress. We moved to Kansas for a few months … then moved back to Wyoming. I just did part-time jobs. We both worked at the Holly Sugar plant. We had alternate shifts, so I had to have a babysitter for our son (Larry) who was about eight years old.”
Stoeger also worked at Daylight Donuts, Ten Pin Tropics bowling alley, and the Goshen County courthouse in the treasurer’s office – a position she held for 10 years.
“When I applied for the job (at Platte Valley Bank), I had quit the courthouse and was working for my son at his lawn service business,” Stoeger recalled. “The first time I came in for the interview, they hired somebody else. They called me a few months later and offered me the position.”
After beginning as a teller in 1996 for a handful of years, Stoeger served as a personal banker for the rest of her nearly 23 years at the bank.
“It was (called) Tri-County until 2001,” she said. “There’ve been a lot of changes. When I was a teller, I remember when they gave us a (computer) mouse to use for the first time. Tri-County – I think – put the ATM out there. We put a flag on a $20 bill inside to kind of bribe people to use it – if you got the $20 bill with a flag, we’d give you $20. People didn’t want to use the ATM there at first, now they can’t live without it.
“When I first was a personal banker, everything was typed (on a typewriter),” Stoeger continued. “There were quite a few forms to fill out … now everything is on our computers which is so much easier. Back in those days we used a lot of correction tape.
It was very nice when we finally got a program so we could use the computer.”
Throughout her 20-plus-year stint at the bank, Stoeger has earned Employee of the Month at least 10 times, including several occasions she received the honor – which is nominated by customers and determined by a committee – across the entire company.
“Platte Valley Companies has been a wonderful, wonderful company to work with,” Stoeger said, adding the customers have been her favorite part of her banking career. “There’s a lot of my customers – I got to know a lot of people back when they were bowlers (at Ten Pin Tropics), then at the courthouse, then at the bank – just most of your adult life.
“I’ve got to know a lot of new people, too. People who’ve came here and worked, and getting to know all the people that work in (other branches). Once a year, we have a Christmas party and get to meet in person. There are the ones that have retired, and I still see those. I’m a people person.”
While her husband is partly retired from his work as a contractor, he still drives school bus for Goshen County and Morrill, Neb. during activities, and also substitutes on occasion.
“We have a cabin at Esterbrook,” Stoeger said. “When my husband isn’t driving bus, we’ll go to the cabin. We just sit on the porch or work on our yard. We have good neighbors that live really close up there, we’ll go visit them.”
Stoeger’s retirement becomes official today (Friday). A reception in her honor is being held from 2 to 4 p.m. at Platte Valley Bank, 2201 Main Street.