LOGAN, WV – As a young national guardsman, he played a part in the recovery efforts for the Buffalo Creek Flood. As a banker, he played a part in many important projects for different groups, organizations and local towns.
But after decades at the helm of Logan Bank and Trust, longtime president Eddie Canterbury finally stepped down on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017.
“This is a bittersweet day,” Canterbury said, with a large banner behind him and plenty of decorated cake in front of him. Canterbury’s retirement party at the community bank did not slow down business. People came and went while Canterbury’s many friends stopped by the bank to bid farewell.
Canterbury has been a part of LB&T since 1970. Over the years he saw the small, hometown bank grow and prosper as his career in banking expanded too. Canterbury became CEO of LB&T in 1982 and the bank’s president in 1999.
During that time LB&T went from a one-office bank to having multiple locations and $40 million in assets. Canterbury himself became a Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, was President of the West Virginia Banker’s Association and held the post of Director of the American Bankers Association. In 2001 he was named the West Virginia Banker of the Year.
LB&T has “been there” for communities such as Logan and Man in his 47 year career in banking and Canterbury himself has also been a vital part of Logan County’s volunteer and service community as well.
A past recipient of the Distinguished West Virginian Award, Canterbury is best known for his longtime association with the Rotary Club of Logan, which raises thousands each year to purchase gifts for and host a massive Christmas party for special needs children. The party has taken place every year for well over half a century.
Canterbury has also been active with many different organizations including the Logan County Community Fund, the Southern West Virginia Community Technical College Foundation, The Logan County Charitable Foundation, the Chief Logan Recreational Center, the Salvation Army of Logan Advisory Committee, The Logan Regional Medical Center, the WV Banker’s Association and the Logan Chamber of Commerce.
That’s a pretty impressive resume for a young man who was dispatched to the Buffalo Creek Flood with his National Gaurd Unit in the aftermath of one of the greatest tragedies in West Virginia history.
Canterbury told the Logan Banner that while he may be retiring he plans on staying active in the community.
“I will still be around,” he affirmed.
“It will be strange with him gone,” said one person at the Open House/Retirement party.
Canterbury has become a part of the history of Logan’s business and service club community, but he also saw a lot of history unfold in Logan County, from the Buffalo Creek Flood to the Aracoma Mine Fire and more. The biggest of all occurred when hundreds of millions of gallons of water devastated Buffalo Creek on Feb. 26, 1972 following the collapse of a Dam in the area.
Canterbury noted that 126 people died or were declared missing and 4,000 people were left homeless in the wake of the Buffalo Creek Flood.
A Logan County deputy drove up the roads warning people the dam had burst. Otherwise many people would not have known what was about to hit them, he said.
“You have to remember, this was at 8 o’clock on a Saturday morning when most people were sleeping in. A lot of people had no warning. People at Pardee and Lorado were trapped in their houses. There were 57 bodies recovered at one bridge alone.”
National Guard trucks drove up and down creeks to gain access to populated areas because the bridges were often washed out or destroyed.Canterbury said the weather was very warm when the flood hit, but soon it got much colder, which affected the recovery effort, making it even harder.
The Guardsmen had to deal with looters the first night of the flood.
“We were not armed then, but we were the next night,” Canterbury said….”You can only imagine the devastation this thing caused…The wall of water was 30 feet high. …. A lot of people’s lives were forever changed that day, forever — whole families were lost. I was only 24 years old and it was rough on me to experience that as just a kid.”
J.D. Charles is a freelance writer for Civitas Media and a former reporter for the Logan Banner.