Growing up, Paula Dezern would always get into trouble as a kid.
It was not for being mischievous, she says, but instead for a talent she would harness and use to her advantage in a career spanning 30 years with Yadkin Valley Bank in Jonesville. It was for talking to people.
“I used to get into trouble for talking too much,” said Dezern. “I was just the average student. I was the one who hated taking tests and all the book work, but loved the social part of school.
“I was in the color guard at Starmount for 4 years,” she said. “I loved going to all the ball games and getting together with all my friends. I always had A’s & B’s except for the talking. If that was a grade, I would always get a C. My mom would say not to talk in school. I would look at her and say sorry. I have tried not talking, but I just can’t do it.”
Dezern said that she was in the Girl Scouts from second grade to the ninth grade and thinks it helped make her a better person just like her mother.
“I liked babysitting growing up. As our granddaughter Kali told someone the other day, she said that all her Nana wanted to be when she grew up was a Nana. Kali was so right. Family is very important to me,” said Dezern.
According to Dezern, she loved her customers.
“They made my job easy. I have always loved to talk. My third grade teacher Mrs. Campbell told me I get paid to talk now,” she said.
“My customers have been at the bank as long or longer than I have been,” said Dezern. “As I told some of them, they helped raise me. My customers let me in the lives and made me feel just a part of their families. I was even waiting on third generations.”
Daughter of William and Shelby Vestal, Dezern was born at Hoots Memorial Hospital in Yadkinville on February 17, 1959. She graduated from Starmount High School in 1977. Dezern has three siblings: Terry, who is 13 months older, and Mickey, who is nine years younger, and one sister named Scarlet who is 3 years younger.
“My parents raised tobacco and worked in public works also,” said Dezern. “We all worked in the tobacco fields, but also had a lot of fun playing in the front yard with all of the kids who lived on our road. Mom always had homemade cookies and lots of Kool-Aid to eat and drink.”
Dezern said she starting dating Sid, her husband, when she was 16. They got married September 18, 1977.
“We have two children. Abby is 31 and getting married in May. Samuel is 28. He has our only granddaughter, who is Kali Alese Dezern, born October 12, 2007. Kali is our pride and joy,” she said.
“I went to work at Northwestern Bank in Jonesville, December of 1977 for Wayne Moore, who later went to work for Yadkin Valley Bank in February of 1979. I went to work for him at Yadkin Valley Bank May 1, 1977,” said Dezern.
“I worked with Ron Jester for 27 years, then Willena Hayes for six years. They made working a pleasure,” said Dezern. “Pam Groce and I have worked together for 28 years. She is way more than a co-worker. Pat Burcham has been at the bank for 20 years. We all grew up together and raised our families together. We became family. Then we added Pamela Caudill, Michelle Hill who have been there for over 15 years. Becky, Sarah and Leanna are the rest of the family.”
Pranks at the bank were pulled all the time, revealed Dezern, but then added, “But they are our secrets to keep.”
When asked why she stayed so long in one job, Dezern said she stayed because she worked with wonderful people.
“The bank was like a family when I started working there. Plus it was great being part of a place that was respected in the community. I was close to home and could work through lunch to get to go to my kids basketball, volleyball games and track meets. Then the bonus was the most wonderful customers in the world,” she said.
When shifting to jobs for the next generation and children becoming adults and if they can have the same opportunity as Dezern, she said times are a bit different.
“Unfortunately kids live in a different world now. Maybe things are too easy to get out of and so much more to get into, if that makes any sense. I think they give up to easy,” said Dezern.
On the side, Dezern loves to cook, and she’ll hug you if you give her a Diet Mountain Dew and anything sweet. “My kitchen is always open and anyone is welcome to eat. I love baking sweets, just ask my son-in-law to be and & Kali. She loves to bake with me,” she said.
On the horizon, Dezern is getting ready for her daughter’s wedding. She plans to help her husband at his store Swan Creek Farm Supply, continue baking with Kali and enjoy as much time with her before Kali starts school in the fall.
“Also Sid always has a big garden, so I will be canning and freezing a lot,” said Dezern. “And maybe enjoy a day for me somewhere along the way.”
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