BBA 1954, MA 1962, HSU Trustee
Gene Darrell Adams was born in Brownwood, Texas, on August 6, 1933, to W.F. and Odessa Adams. He later moved with his family to Eastland, where he started elementary school. His father a local grocery merchant and his mother a teacher, the family settled in Monahans, Texas, in 1943.
Adams completed high school in Monahans in 1950, and then attended Odessa Junior College for a year before coming to Hardin-Simmons University. At HSU, he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1954, majoring in business administration and double minoring in economics and religious education.
While a undergraduate student at HSU, Gene was a member of Cowboys for Christ, was the 1954 Senior Class Favorite, his senior class treasurer, and was selected to Who’s Who in American Colleges. He was a member of the 1953 NAIA National Champion Tennis team, and was ranked number five in the nation individually.
Gene met his late wife, the former Irma Howington, at HSU and they were married while both were seniors in January 1954. Irma graduated in August 1954 with a Bachelor of Science degree.
Also in January 1954, Adams was employed by Farmers and Merchants National Bank in Abilene (now First Financial Bankshares). In November 1954, newly wed and newly graduated, Adams entered the U.S. Army during the Korean War. His son Darrell was born in 1956 shortly before Gene’s discharge from the Army. Gene then returned to Abilene and was rehired by Farmers and Merchants National Bank, and entered HSU graduate school, working nights to eventually complete his Master of Arts in degree in economics with a minor in history in 1962.
In 1959, Gene was elected cashier of Chelmont State Bank in El Paso. The young family welcomed daughter Jayne in 1960. That same year, Gene was elected vice president and cashier of Lamesa National Bank in Lamesa, Texas. In 1963, Gene became vice president, cashier, and director of First National Bank, Plainview, Texas, a position he held until 1965 when he was elected president of First National Bank, Seymour.
Gene is currently chairman of the board of First National Bank Seymour, and serves as president and founding chairman of the board of Baylor Bancshares Inc, which he established in 1979. Baylor Bancshares includes Texas banks in Seymour, Whitney, Memphis, and Princeton, with four branch banks and nine locations.
During his career, Adams has been recognized as “an outstanding West Texas banker and businessman.” He has served on the boards of the Baptist Church Loan Corp. and the Texas Baptist Financial Services Corp., the Federal Reserve Bank-Dallas, and as advisor to the comptroller of the currency in Washington, D.C.
In 1993, Adams served on an International Committee in Moscow that was invited by the Russian Bankers Association to help convert Russian banks to a free enterprise system operation.
Adams holds a commercial multi-engine pilot’s license and has clocked 5,000 hours with 30 years’ experience. He is a retired volunteer member of the Confederate Air Force, which performs air shows reenacting the attack on Pearl Harbor. In the show, he was a member of the crew that flew the SB2C, a restored World War II Navy Hell Diver, now located in Houston, the only surviving plane of its type.
As an HSU alumnus, Gene has continued to be involved with Hardin-Simmons, serving two nine-year terms and was chair for five years of the HSU Board of Trustees. He is also a former member of the Board of Development, and the Alumni Association Board. He is a lifetime member of the Presidents Club and serves as an alumni volunteer. Adams served as chair of the Search Committee that brought Dr. Lanny Hall to the HSU campus in 1991.
Adams received the Keeter Alumni Service Award in 1991, and in 2003, was inducted into the HSU Athletics Hall of Fame. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from HSU in 2008.
Adams is a member of the First Baptist Church of Seymour where he has served as a deacon and chairman of the deacon body. Gene lost his wife, Irma, of 57 years in April 2011. Their two children blessed them with five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.