By Athena Cao
Hundreds of people gathered at CornerStone Bank in Lexington Wednesday evening to console the family of the bank’s Founding Chief Executive Officer, David Grist.
Grist died early Sunday at the University of Virginia Medical Center. He was 57 and had been diagnosed with cancer early in January.
Jeanne Trimble braved 27-degree weather to join the line of people that stretched all the way to the Nelson Street Bridge. Trimble said she was not surprised by the turnout.
“He called my parents every year on their birthdays — every year,“ Trimble said. “And he did that for everybody.”
Grist, a Lexington native, graduated from the old Lexington High School in 1974. He studied business and economics at James Madison University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1978. He obtained a master degree from the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University in 1990.
After working for other banks in the area, Grist helped a group of local investors found CornerStone Bank in February 2009, and was named its first CEO and president. His vision for CornerStone Bank was to be recognized as the best and most caring place to bank in each of the communities it serves.
CornerStone’s total assets have grown more than six fold, from $14 million at the end of March 2009 to more than $103 million at the end of 2013, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. It has also grown from eight to 27 full-time employees.
Grist spent much of his life working for the community. He served on the boards of the Lexington Rockbridge County Chamber of Commerce, Lexington’s Habitat for Humanity, Lexington and Rockbridge County Jaycees, Lexington Golf and Country Club and many others. But to people who knew him, like Beth Jones, Grist was more than a community activist.
“I grew up with him, for one,” Jones said. “I cheered with his sister. He always asked about my family, my kids — just a very genuine soul.”
Grist is survived by his wife, Sharon Reid Grist; their daughter, Hunter; his parents, Joe and Roberta Grist; two sisters, Debra Grist Collins and Susie Grist Harris; and two brothers, J. Steven Grist and Jeffrey Grist.
Funeral services were held today at 11 a.m. at Manly Memorial Baptist Church, where Grist had served as deacon and on various committees. Pastor Mike Wilkins said the church prepared for about 400 people but was packed even so, with people standing.
“David had connections all through the community, in all areas of the community,” Wilkins said. “He just had a way of touching lives.”