While Dub Riter's legacy reaches all the way to the White House, his life work and influence thrived right here in Tyler and East Texas. It all began for Riter in 1924 in Forney, Texas. Tyler didn't know just quite what it was getting when Riter moved here in 1947 to take a job as a bank clerk. But it didn't take long to figure it out. By 1958, he was named Tyler's most outstanding young person, and became president of People's Bank just five years later. People's Bank was bought out by NCNB, and Riter retired in 1988 as the senior chairman of the board of directors. Governor George Bush named Riter to the post of Regent of the University of Texas in 1997, where he served up until his death. Along the way, he served as a leader or board member in almost every organization Tyler has to offer.
"He was always there to try to make Tyler and east Texas better off," said UT-Tyler President, Dr. Rodney Mabry.
"Whatever you want to say about Dub Riter," added Trinity Mother Frances Health System Foundation's C.C. Baker, Jr. "You can honestly say that he gave it all that he could, every day that he lived, not out of just selfish interests, but out of the good of our whole town."
Some of Riter's greatest contributions to Tyler and East Texas will never be known. He liked being behind the scenes, and oh so often was more than likely that mysterious, anonymous donor.
"Whenever there was a need, the fund was short," said former Tyler mayor Kevin Eltife. "Whenever there was a dire need for something, he'd always step up to the plate and take care of us as a community.
"Learning to give is not something you're taught," said Elmer Ellis, president of ETMC Regional Health System. "I think Dub taught us all a whole lot about giving to our community."
Tyler mayor Joey Seeber was quick to point out, "There is no better example of a gentleman, somebody who gave of themselves in every way for their community than Dub Riter.
Kay Robinson of the Better Business Bureau may have summed it up best.
"As far as I'm concerned, he's Mr. Tyler, and always will be."
Services for Riter will be held Friday at 1:00 p.m. at Rose Hill Cemetery in Tyler, followed by a memorial service at 2 p-m at First Presbyterian Church on Rusk Street in Tyler. The family will receive friends in the Fellowship Hall immediately following that service.