Terry Tuschhoff, the market business manager at First State Community Bank in Jackson and recently elected president of the Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization, grew up around Center Junction between Jackson and Cape Girardeau.
“I went to Trinity Lutheran School over at Cape because my dad worked at Missouri Utilities and we didn’t have any bus service, so that was convenient,” he said.
In 1968 or 1969 the Oak Grove School District voted on where to send its students and Jackson won out. “I didn’t start Jackson until I was a sophomore in High School,” recalled Terry.
It was in Jackson High School that Terry met and began dating his future wife, Cheryl Kraemer. She was a year behind Terry in school, but she had grown up attending Jackson schools.
Now, when Terry attends high school reunions, people tend to remember his wife more than him, even though she wasn’t in his class; but she grew up attending Jackson schools and he only attended his final three years, graduating in 1971.
Terry and Cheryl continued to date as they went to Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, where Terry graduated in four years with a major in accounting and a minor in economics.
He chose his major and minor because, he said, “it was something that came pretty easy to me, thanks to Judy Sanders, the bookkeeping teacher at the high school at the time.”
Cheryl also majored in accounting at Southeast. When Terry proposed marriage, he told her they couldn’t get married until they were both out of school. So she completed her college education in three years to graduate with Terry.
They were married in May 1975, graduated from college together two weeks later, and two weeks after that, Terry started his job at Farmers and Merchants Bank in Cape Girardeau. He worked next to KFC on William Street in what is now the SoutheastHEALTH College of Nursing.
Terry looks back at the time line with a smile. He and Cheryl ended up marrying before they graduated (in spite of his plans) and before he had a job — something not usually recommended.
Terry began with Farmers and Merchants and has been with that same organization 45 years in June. Through mergers and acquisitions, that bank has become First State Community Bank. “In every event, they grandfathered my seniority, so I’m sitting here with 45 years of seniority with First State Community Bank even though I’ve only worked with them for six.”
(Farmers and Merchants was bought out by Boatmen’s Bank, Boatmen’s was bought by Bank of America, Bank of America bought Nations Bank and changed its name to Nations Bank, and then Bank of America sold it to First State Community Bank.)
“I was pretty fortunate,” Terry said, about surviving all those mergers and acquisitions. “The bank I was with was on the buying end.” One time, there were a lot of changes, and that made him nervous, but he was one of the first people to be offered a position, so it made it easier to endure. His secret to surviving? “I continued to stay focused on what I needed to do and did it to the best of my ability,” he said.
Through all those mergers and acquisitions, Terry has had the opportunity to do a lot of different jobs, including president, chief financial officer, trust officer, marketing, HR/personnel, credit cards, merchant services, retail sales, and more. “It has just been really interesting to be involved in so many different areas,” he said.
Currently, as market business manager, Terry is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the facility at 320 W. Main St. “What I do is a little bit of everything,” he said.
He keeps a positive, festive attitude on the job. “I learned a long time ago that I really don’t like change, unless I’m creating it. If I’m creating change, why then it’s okay. When I keep that in perspective, everything else seems to go a little better,” he said.
“I also have a philosophy that everything is possible until you figure out why it won’t work,” he added.
“I’m a pretty positive person most of the time. I laugh every day here at the bank. Usually it’s because of something that I’ve done, and I can relay that to everyone else.
“I have a plastic trumpet I can only play two songs on,” said Terry, pulling a toy red-white-and-blue trumpet out of his desk drawer. “I can play ‘Off to the Races’ and I can play ‘Taps.’ So when we have good things going on, we get ‘Off to the Races,’ and when we don’t, we get ‘Taps.’”
When employees have an anniversary of working at the bank, Terry plays “Off to the Races” in the main lobby and announces the anniversary to other employees and to customers.
After Terry and Cheryl married in 1975, they lived in his grandparents’ home in Cape Girardeau, until they moved to Jackson in the early 1980s. They have three children, Natalie, Nathan and Nicholas, who all have graduated from JHS. Terry and Cheryl are now proud grandparents of eight, ranging in age from 5 to 11.
Terry grew up in a close-knit family. His mother was an identical twin. The mother of those twins — Terry’s grandmother — had two sisters who had no children. So the twins received a lot of attention growing up, and when the twins had three boys between them — Terry, his brother and a cousin — the boys received a lot of attention as well.
Terry’s family is still very close — both in affection and in location. One of his sons lives across the street; one lives a block away. His daughter lives in Cape. They get together often. “Any old Sunday could be like a Thanksgiving for us, because everybody is so close together,” he said. “I wouldn’t trade the family part of it for anything.”
Terry says he was introverted when he was younger; probably because his family was so close, he didn’t need to make a lot of friends. Over the years, he has become more outgoing. His many positions in the banking industry has led him to develop communication skills and to become more outgoing as he worked with employees and customers.
If he was shy and introverted, that didn’t stop him from performing in public.
When Terry was in high school, he performed in choir and drama club. He received the best actor award as a senior. He had the lead role in two plays that year, Twelve Angry Jurors and Jumpin’ Jupiter.
This past Christmas, he and his eight grandchildren performed a Christmas skit at Zion United Methodist Church in Old Appleton, a church in which his great grandfather was a founding member.
Terry likes the small-town flavor of Jackson. “I like the familiarity,” Terry said. “I like being able to go just about any place and seeing somebody and being able to say ‘Hi’ and talk to them, whether that’s in a store, or a restaurant.”
In addition to seeing many familiar faces, he also thinks Jackson is a place where it’s easy to strike up a conversation with strangers. “They’re approachable,” he said.
Terry also believes the citizens care about their home town. “There seems to be a genuine concern for the community; for what’s good for Jackson. I know the pride that everybody has in the schools, and the churches and the parks and that kind of stuff — it’s not just a billboard.”
When it comes to living and working in Jackson, it’s just another reason for Terry to get out that plastic trumpet and play “Off to the Races!”