James Lambert
Remembering a wonderful Christian friend and banker: John Nersesian
By James Lambert
July 29, 2020

I have fond memories of John R. Nersesian who sadly passed away a little over 8 years ago on June 6, 2012. He is buried honorably at the Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego which is fairly close to his home and that of his wife’s: Betty Lynn Nersesian. Before John began his banking career he served honorably in the U.S. military for several years.

I first met John in the 1970s when I was a member and later Deacon at the La Jolla Presbyterian Church. Like me, John became a Deacon at the church in the 1970s. My wife, Lori and I had the privilege of going over to his previous home near La Jolla Blvd. to attend their regular Bible studies back then. It was a lot of fun. I fondly remember those days.

The La Jolla Presbyterian Church at the time had more traditional services back then. However, Church leadership was open to have some special services where the Deacons invited some wonderful Christian outreach groups to make presentations at a special weekly venue located in the auditorium near the present day church chapel. We got a chance to show Christian movies as well as offer several music presentations of gospel rock. One such group, Mustard Seed Faith, was from Calvary Chapel (in Costa Mesa, CA.). This popular Christian music group recorded several albums with the Maranatha Music record label. This group even played in the main (traditional church) auditorium that weekend (in 1975) where they had a Saturday evening concert.

In his enthusiasm to serve the Lord, John was helpful in encouraging the church’s Deacons to support this evangelistic effort. Mustard Seed Faith (led by lead singer Oden Fong) even offered an ‘alter-call’ perhaps the only one that was offered in the church during the time when I was a Deacon (1975-1978) there.

John was also a wonderful leader and community banker. I was fortunate, when I decided to leave my manager position at Crocker Bank (in 1984) to apply with John (who was the then acting manager with San Diego Trust & Savings Bank’s personnel department). San Diego Trust was the largest independent bank in the city back then. I was happy when John offered employment to me at SDT&S. Within several years I was appointed to a bank manager position with this fine independent bank. I left Crocker because I was told by a friend who worked with senior management with Crocker in San Francisco (where the Crocker bank was headquartered) that the bank was looking for a buyer for this 100+ year old bank. Ultimately, CNB was sold to Wells Fargo Bank in 1986.

Working for San Diego Trust and Savings was a wonderful experience. I met a lot of new friends and got a chance to get into commercial lending too. By the time, SDT&S was considering selling its bank to a large state-wide bank (First Interstate Bank of CA,), I was fortunate again to work (indirectly) with John. He became the overall manager of the (commercial loan) department in San Diego that consisted of approximately 10 loan officers who managed approximately 1 billion in commercial loans at the time. I was a lot of fun working for that department back then. My immediate boss was James Kennedy. We worked out of the ‘Park West’ office.

After that period of time I went in another direction by learning the mortgage lending business from the experienced mortgage lender, Ken Terrill. His office, at the time, was in Escondido, CA. I was living and working Living in North County where I lost contact with my friend, John. Before I knew it, John sadly died in June of 2012.

I do know this: that John was committed to his faith. Even though I am sorry he left us, I know he is in a better place now: Heaven. I am sorry for Betty Lynn, his wife, but I know that my friend, John is now with his dear Lord and Savior, Jesus.

© James Lambert


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James Lambert

James Lambert has a broad business background. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Linfield College (McMinnville, Oregon), Lambert pursued a career in banking by working in various management capacities for Crocker Bank, San Diego Trust & Savings Bank and First Interstate Bank (between 1973 and 1995). By 1990 Lambert received his Master in Business Administration from National University (San Diego). For 3 years, Lambert also taught Finance at Mira Costa Community College... (more)


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