J. Alton Wingate, Supermarket Banking Pioneer, Dies

CORNELIA, Ga. -- Funeral services are being held here today for J. Alton Wingate, a highly respected banker who was known to many as the "Father of Supermarket Banking." Wingate, who was 66, died here at his home on Aug. 16.

Wingate, a 45-year banking veteran, was chairman, president, and c.e.o. of Community Bankshares, Inc., an interstate, multi-bank financial holding company with corporate headquarters in Cornelia, Ga. He guided the company and its affiliated subsidiaries through years of unprecedented growth and profitability. The consolidated assets of Community Bankshares -- a three-bank financial holding company -- now approach $1 billion.

Wingate was also founder and president of Financial Supermarkets, Inc., a subsidiary of Community Bankshares that is the parent company of The Supermarket Bank and pioneer of in-store banking in the United States and Europe.

Wingate was known as a businessman who set high standards, and who also held offices in church, civic, and professional organizations. He is survived by his wife, Linda Hodgkinson Wingate, and three sons: Frank and Camille, Edward and Idell, and Joseph Alton Wingate, Jr. (Beau) and Anne Marie; also, a brother James Stokley Wingate and wife Martha of Albany, Ga., and sisters Veda W. Tison, also of Albany, and Sarah W. Johnson of Newnan, Ga. He was the proud grandfather of Caroline, Anna Lea, Meredith, Carlin, Elizabeth, and grandson, Joseph Alton Wingate, III.

Habersham County banking centers will be closed from 10 a.m. until 2
p.m. today.

Contributions can be made in Mr. Wingate's memory to the Level Grove
Cemetery Fund, c/o Community Bank & Trust, P.O. Box 1900, Cornelia, GA
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