Monday, December 10, 2012
By GINNY WRAY - Martinsville Bulletin
Local bank executive Larry Heaton was killed in an auto accident Sunday morning in Patrick County, according to the Virginia State Police.
Heaton, 55, of Collinsville, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident on Route 8, 1.5 miles north of Rt. 605, according to a news release from the state police.
The preliminary investigation revealed that a 2004 Chevrolet Colorado pickup was traveling southbound on Route 8 when it ran off the right side of the road and struck a tree around 11:15 a.m., the release stated. It added that Heaton was not wearing a safety belt when the accident occurred.
Heaton was president, chief executive officer and board member of MainStreet BankShares Inc., with headquarters in Martinsville, according to its website. MainStreet is a locally owned and managed bank holding company. Its subsidiary is Franklin Community Bank, N.A.
Heaton had attended what then was Atlantic Christian College in North Carolina and then joined Piedmont Trust Bank in Martinsville as a management trainee around 1978 or 1979, according to C.R. "Andy" McCullar, who hired Heaton at MainStreet.
McCullar, now of Roanoke, is the retired president and CEO of MainStreet BankShares.
"He (Heaton) had worked his way up" and caught McCullar's eye because he had been president and chief executive officer of a Piedmont Trust Bank subsidiary in Rocky Mount for eight or nine years, McCullar said. "It drew me to him," he added.
McCullar hired Heaton in 2001 as a consultant to study whether MainStreet BankShares could justify establishing a bank in Franklin County "with the proviso that if we could, he would be president and CEO," McCullar recalled Sunday.
Franklin Community Bank, N.A., opened as a MainStreet BankShares subsidiary on Sept. 16, 2001, in temporary quarters in Rocky Mount and, as promised, Heaton was its president and CEO, McCullar said.
"He ran his own show and ran it well," he added.
MainStreet also operated Smith River Bank in Martinsville at the time, but it was sold later to a private group from North Carolina, McCullar added.
On May 1, 2006, when McCullar retired from MainStreet, Heaton was named president and CEO of both MainStreet and Franklin Community Bank.
Heaton, McCullar said, "was a good man, very astute."
Heaton had strong leadership qualities and because he was 6 feet, 7 inches tall, "he made a nice appearance," McCullar added.
Trooper Robbie Dillon is investigating Sunday's accident, and no further information was available Sunday night, according to the release.