1968 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"Recognize your responsibility to God, to your family, and to yourself."
Born and raised in Texas, Dewey Presley was three when his father died. His mother worked hard to support herself and her two young sons. Even though they had a difficult time financially, Dewey Presley remembers those early years with fondness. 'I had a great family,' he says. 'In retrospect, I don't think my childhood was very tough. I did do a lot of work as a youngster, but most all children did at that time. It was just a part of growing up.' Presley helped his family financially by working as a field hand.
He worked his way though Baylor University, where he majored in accounting. He joined Magnolia Petroleum Company, which later became Mobil Oil. When World War II began, Presley tried to join the Navy, but was rejected due to his poor eyesight. At that time, he joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), where he served for the next 10 years. While working in the FBI's Dallas office, he was offered a job as an assistant trust officer at First National Bank, then the largest bank in the state. After 13 years there, he was appointed president of the bank. He served in that capacity until 1972. At that time, a new holding company was formed, First International Bancshares, Inc., and Presley was named president. Under his able direction, the organization grew to be the largest bank group in the Southwest. At the age of 60, Presley complied with the policy he had formerly set and stepped down as a corporate officer. He continued to serve as a consultant for the bank and was a member of the board until 1985.
Deeply religious, Presley has served his church all his life. Even in college he says, 'I found, beyond work and study, I needed to recognize my first responsibility was to God.' Presley has served as a trustee of Baylor University, and is a former chairman of the board of the Baylor University Medical Center.
Presley believes that a life of service offers a great many satisfactions. 'There are so many ways a person can become interested and involved in community and church work,' he says. 'I'm thankful that I've been able to be of assistance to many worthy causes here in Dallas.' Presley's advice to young people is an extension of his beliefs. He says, 'Young people need to prepare themselves in every area of life to serve.'
Now fully retired, Presley and his wife, Virginia, have three daughters who all live nearby. He spends a great deal of his time with his family, including his nine grandchildren. Presley, who says he still highly values his Horatio Alger Award, defines success by the way in which he has contributed his time and resources to quality causes and institutions.* Deceased