Ronald C. Denniston

Ronald C. Denniston, 79, of Virgil, NY, passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, October 25, 2020. He was born August 30th, 1941 in Oswego to the late Charles and Charlotte Denniston. From birth to the age of 7, he grew up on a farm in the Oswego area where he gained his love of farming and the seeds of a strong work ethic were planted. He moved to Dryden and graduated from Dryden High School in 1958 where he was President of the student body in his Senior year, learning leadership skills he would later expand upon. He attended Ithaca College majoring in Business Management. After college, he began his banking career at the Tompkins County Trust Company. He went on to work at the First National Bank of Dryden, learning from top management, where he became an officer in 1966 at the age of 25 and later advanced to President and CEO in 1986. He served full-time for 57 years until his passing. Among his proudest accomplishments was bringing home-town community banking from Dryden to the residents and businesses of Cortland County through the addition of the Cortlandville and Homer offices. Early in his career, he served as a Charter Director of ICBA Bancard, a new corporation formed to provide credit card services to over 7,000 independent community banks across the nation. The corporation now does billions of dollars in business each year. 

When he was not at the bank, Ron could be found on his farm which he moved to in 1978, enjoying working the land, harvesting hay, and producing maple syrup. He especially cherished the time he spent with his grandchildren on the farm, whether it was watching horse riding lessons, repairing tractors with the boys, supervising hay operations, or watching paintball games. 

Ron’s dedication to the community was demonstrated through his involvement with numerous associations and volunteer organizations such as the Neptune Hose Company, Cortland Rotary Club, TC3 Finance Committee, and Virgil Community Loan Committee. He was a member of several professional organizations: Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), NYS Bankers Association, American Institute of Banking, and Bank Administration Institute. He served as Director Emeritus of the Independent Bankers Association of NYS (IBANYS). 

He served as Vice President of the Southworth Library Board, Treasurer of the Cortland Memorial Hospital Board, President of the Cortland County Holstein Club, and Trustee of the Dryden Village Board where he served as Police Commissioner. He was a 32nd degree member of the Scottish Rite and served as Worshipful Master of the Dryden Masonic Lodge #472. He was an incredibly proud member of the Cortland County Republican Committee. 

He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Barbara (Baranello) Denniston. His children, Brenda (Clinton) Brooks of Homer; David (Cris) Denniston of Virgil; their mother, Bonnie, of Dryden; brother, Robert (Pam) Denniston of Leesburg, FL and sister, Janet Denniston (Ray Alger) of Orlando, FL. His grandchildren, Matthew Denniston of Virgil; Jennifer Denniston of Castle Creek; Benjamin Brooks of Homer; Emily (C.J.) Wilkinson of Sherrill. His great-grandchildren, Maverick and Lilliana Wilkinson.  Stepchildren, Steve and Bob Southworth and several step-grandchildren. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his brother, Larry Denniston of Binghamton. 

Public calling hours will be Saturday, October 31st from 1-4pm at Wright-Beard Funeral Home in Cortland. State guidelines regarding capacity, social distancing and face coverings will be followed.  Masonic Services will be held on Sunday, November 1st at 1:30pm also at Wright-Beard Funeral Home.  Due to Covid restrictions, a private service for close family and friends will follow at 2pm with burial at Glenwood Cemetery in Homer, NY.