Irlan W. Neas was born in New Salem, N.D., on Oct. 1, 1928, and passed away Feb. 3, 2011. When he was in high school, his parents, August and Selma Neas, moved the family to Chetek, Wis., where his father worked in the Chetek Indianhead State Bank. Irlan worked part time in the bank in high school, and this is where he decided to pursue a banking career after spending a summer laying tracks for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad at age 15. He graduated from Chetek High School, then went to Minneapolis School of Business. Irlan is a graduate of Colorado School of Banking in Boulder; Wisconsin School of Banking; Wisconsin Post School of Banking and three courses BAI.
He began his banking career in 1942 to 1946 at Chetek Indianhead State Bank. In 1947, he worked for one year in the First National Bank of Chippewa Falls, Wis.
Irlan married his high school sweetheart, Jean, in 1947, and they decided to move away from the miserably cold winters of Wisconsin. It was then that he saw an advertisement for a teller position in Steamboat Springs and applied for that job. He worked for Routt County National Bank (now Wells Fargo) until April 1988, when he decided to retire. In this time, he went from teller to assistant cashier, then cashier, then vice president on to senior vice president and in 1985 became chairman of the board of that bank (then United Bank).
Retirement was not for Irlan, so he became vice president of the First National Bank of Steamboat Springs. He retired from that institution, now Vectra Bank, in 2002. All in all, Irlan Neas was in banking for 63 years, mostly in Steamboat. Irlan was awarded the Del and Doris Scott Memorial Award by the Colorado Bankers Association in July 1993.
He also served as president and member of Kiwanis Club and president of the Chamber of Commerce. He was mayor of Steamboat for six years and council member for four more. During this time, new bridges were installed over Soda Creek and at Oak and 11th streets. The city also built a garage and shop in Brooklyn. He also served on the Steamboat Springs High School Advisory Board, two committees for the Colorado Bankers Association, the board of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and as trustee of the United Methodist Church. He also served on the Colorado Heart Association Board.
Presently he was still a Kiwanis member; secretary-treasurer of the Steamboat Golf Club; member of the Board of The Routt County Foundation for Senior Citizens Inc.; and member of the board of Yampa Valley Electric Association. He presently was serving as senior vice president of Capital Funding Advisors.
Irlan and Jean were ski enthusiasts, and in summer, they enjoyed the outside activities along with camping and fishing. Irlan also enjoyed hunting deer and elk.
Irlan and Jean have two children, Sandra Keregyarto, of Lancaster, Pa., and Bere Neas, of Denver. Sandra gave the family two grandsons, Eric Edgerton and Brandon Edgerton, who with his wife Kathy has two girls (great-grandchildren), Maddison and Sienna. Irlan had four sisters, two of whom preceded him in death, along with his parents. His living sisters are Betty Reilly, of Minneapolis, and Sharon Ralstad, of Plover, Wis.
Irlan and Jean have given so much to this community, to its youth and the growth of the community. Irlan had a passion for helping people get into ranching or into a small business. He had a faith in people, and that faith was returned to him in great gratitude.
The Neas family would appreciate donations to the United Methodist Church of Steamboat Springs, P.O. Box 773748, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477 or Hospice of Steamboat Springs, P.O. Box 770417, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477.