After 45 years of personal banking service at the Comerica Bank in Waxahachie, Jean Woods is retiring.
“At first, I felt a mix of emotions,” Woods said of retiring. “I was sad and glad, but now I’m excited because I never thought I would be an employee here. This is a great company and I’ve enjoyed every year here.”
Woods finished her last day Thursday, Aug. 29 after more than four decades of working at a business where she never thought she would work. She confessed that she felt less than confident about applying for a job at the Waxahachie Bank and Trust in 1968, and she was sure she wouldn’t be chosen for the job.
“I guess I wasn’t very confident,” she said. “I really didn’t expect a callback, so when they called be back for some more questions, I was surprised that they offered me the job.”
Woods new job came with more than a paycheck, it was the beginning of several lifelong friendships.
“When I started there was a wonderful group of people here who welcomed me,” she said. “I’ve kept in contact with some of those who have since retired because we became like family.”
Working alongside her friends and enjoying each others’ company after hours, Woods developed tight-knit relationship with her coworkers. To this day, she still calls them regularly to talk about life and always make it to their annual Christmas breakfast with the whole group.
She said she will miss her current coworkers as well and plans to stop by frequently to see them. Her coworkers aren’t the only ones that gave Woods mixed emotions about retiring.
“I’m going to miss my customers too,” she said smiling. “Some of them I’ve served for years and I won’t get to see them every week now.”
Those few customers she still sees on a regular basis are a treasure for Woods as times have changed and many customers now bank online.
“Times have changed indeed. I can remember when we would have lines of people stacked up waiting to do their banking, back when we did everything manually,” she said. “Now so many people use the ATM or do their banking online. We’ve just worked to keep up with the changes and continue our education.”
Time marches on and now is the time Woods feels for a change in her life and daily routine. She admitted that she nearly retired last year after having knee surgery, because she wasn’t as able to meet the daily demands of her job. However, she felt like it wasn’t quite time yet.
“It took all my energy to make it through the day, but I thought ‘I can do this another year,’” Woods said. “Then at my birthday (Aug. 17) I thought, ‘Yes, now it’s time.’ While I’m in relatively good health and I’ll have the time to do the things I want to do, when I want to do them.”
Like her career, those things she wants to do are all about family. Woods said she plans to spend more time with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“Now that I’ll have more time, I want to be there for whatever activities they’re (grandchildren and great-grandchildren) involved in,” she said.
Not waking up early to be at the bank on time will be a big change for Woods, but it’s one that she hopes she’ll adjust to quickly. There will be less one rosy-cheeked smile and friendly bank employee, but you can bet Woods won’t stay away from her friends for too long at Comerica Bank.
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