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Exeter Awards: Bank On Her

Exeter Awards: Bank On Her

Exeter has been banking on Marta King for 32 years, and even though she will be retiring at the end of next month, she plans on promoting Exeter for the rest of her life, and, at least for the next year, as Exeter’s 2012 Woman of the Year.

“I’ve always tried to be there for Exeter and even in retirement, people know they can call me when they need me,” she said.

Marta grew up in Visalia, but always felt drawn to Exeter. She and her mother, Ann Harder, would come shopping in the quaint town to get away from the busy streets of Visalia. But it was in Visalia that Marta learned the importance of community as she watched her mother donate time to causes for heart awareness and Hospice.

“She taught me a lot about doing things for others,” Marta said. “She had a remarkable heart of others and I wanted to do the same.”

Marta began working for Security Pacific Bank in Visalia in 1971. In 1981, she transferred to the bank in Exeter. She has worked at the same location since then throughout the merger with Bank of America in 1992 and the constant changes in the banking industry.

Just a year prior to the name of the bank changing, Marta became involved in an event that would become the quintessential Exeter tradition. In 1991, Marta volunteered to be part of the Downtown Merchant’s Association and helped organize the first Christmas Open House. Marta passed out fliers, talked with local shop owners and spread the word about the event. It was an instant success as “mom and pop” shops extended their hours into the evening to turn back the clock and bring back a shopping experience right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. She has also been a member of the Garden Club, Optimist Club, has been a Chamber Ambassador for 10 years and volunteers as a docent at the Courthouse Gallery of the Arts.

“I love the tradition in town,” Marta said. “Just being involved in the little things in town is important. Over the years it all begins to add up and you feel like you make a difference.”

In some cases, Marta helped put on events she wasn’t even a part of. In the 1990s, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, better known as the Jaycees, was holding a pancake breakfast in City Park. When they lost power to their griddles, they knocked on Marta’s door just down the street.

“We just started cooking everything and taking it in shifts back and forth,” Marta said. “That’s just what people in Exeter do. And no matter what happens, my husband [Kerry King] is always there to support me.”

Throughout her time in Exeter, Marta has preached the promotion of Exeter to her children as well. Just as she was involved with her children’s school activities, Marta now takes the time to attend activities at Lincoln Elementary for her grandson Brodey McHugh, 7, and her granddaughter Sloan McHugh, who will be five in April and attend Lincoln in the fall, and 15-year-old Greydon McHugh. She said she is proud of her daughter Sara McHugh who lives in town along with husband Brandon McHugh.

“My daughter is wonderful and I am very proud of her,” Marta said. “My family is the most important thing to me. I love Exeter but my family definitely comes first.”

Marta said working at the bank she comes in contact with many people in town, always trying to use the opportunity to promote upcoming events during small talk across the counter. Marta has also tried to set a good example for her children, customers and community by always thinking and shopping local. She buys her cars from Monarch Ford, does all her Christmas shopping in downtown Exeter and always tries to help out by buying Girl Scout cookies, tickets for fund-raisers or selling tickets to help out other causes.

“I had the best of both worlds,” Marta said. “I am going to miss my customers a lot. I have built wonderful relationships with people and had many great experiences.”

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