Among the enterprising, capable and successful business men who have contributed substantially to the material growth and prosperity of Vinita is numbered William M. Malone, who as manager of the Vinita Building & Loan Association has developed the largest financial institution in northeastern Oklahoma. He was the author of important legislation in this connection which has greatly promoted the success of the various associations of this character throughout the state and has become widely recognized as a leader in the field in which he is operating. Mr. Malone is a native of Ohio. He was born in Jackson County on the 24th of July, 1870, and is a great-grandson of Edmond Malone, whose history of Shakespeare and his works, in eleven volumes, is regarded by many as the best ever published. His great-grandfather became one of the founders of the city of Malone, New York. His parents were Rev. S. M. and Virginia Malone, the former for fifty years a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
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When four years of age William M. Malone was taken by his parents to Warrensburg, Missouri, and after completing his public school course he attended the State Normal School of that place and Spaulding’s Commercial College at Kansas City, Missouri. When twenty years of age he began teaching in the public schools of Missouri, devoting six years to that profession, and later he engaged in the newspaper brokerage business, owning and editing papers in Missouri, Alabama, Kentucky and Indiana. Success attended his efforts in that connection and at one time he was the owner of seven papers. In 1906 he turned his attention to the field of finance, becoming one of the founders of the First National Bank at Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and for five years he served as Vice President of the First State Bank of Vinita. In 1909 he organized the Vinita Building & Loan Association and has since been manager of the organization. It is a two million dollar concern and has the distinction of being the largest financial enterprise in northeastern Oklahoma. Mr. Malone is a sagacious, farsighted business man of marked executive ability and a splendid financial undertaking stands as a monument to his initiative spirit and powers of organization. His work in this connection forms one of the chief interests in his life. In 1913 he organized the Oklahoma State Building & Loan League, of which he was President for five years, and he also served in that capacity for the National Association of Building and Loan Examiners, being elected to the office at Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1912. He presided over the national assembly at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the following year and for several years has been a member of the national executive committee of the National Building & Loan League. At the present time he is a member of the legislative committee of the Oklahoma state board league. He was the author of Senate Bill, No. 158, which became a state law in 1913, and under this enactment all building and loan associations in Oklahoma are under the supervision of the state banking department. This is regarded as one of the best building and loan laws enacted by any state in the Union and since its passage there has not been a single failure of a building and loan association in Oklahoma, the assets of the various organizations throughout the state having been increased from one million to over fifty million dollars under the operation of this law. He was appointed state building and loan auditor of Oklahoma in 1910, under Governor Haskell, and was reappointed in the following year under the Cruce administration. He was the first building and loan auditor of the state and served four years, resigning to take over the management of the Vinita Building & Loan Association.
At West Plains, Missouri, in 1897, Mr. Malone was united in marriage to Miss Sadie E. Ritchey, a daughter of the Rev. J. W. Ritchey, who was for forty-five years a minister of the Presbyterian Church. Previous to her marriage Mrs. Malone was prominent in educational work, being for several years a teacher in the public schools at West Plains and Willow Springs, Missouri, and was also an instructor in Ozark College at Greenfield, that state. Mr. and Mrs. Malone have no children of their own but are rearing two adopted daughters, Mary Virginia and Nancy Henrieta Malone, twins, who are now six years old.
Mr. and Mrs. Malone are members of the Presbyterian Church and he is serving as chairman of the board of deacons. He is independent in his political views, voting for the man whom he considers best qualified for office at local elections, but when national issues are at stake he supports the candidates of the Republican Party. In 1898 he served as deputy labor commissioner of Missouri under Governor Stephens and he is now a member of the board of regents of the State School of Mines and is also serving on the board of trustees of the University of Tulsa, being deeply interested in the cause of education. He is a member of the Hillcrest Country Club of Vinita and his fraternal connections are with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He is also a member of the state home board of the I.O.O. F. homes of the jurisdiction of Oklahoma and three times was sent as representative to the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma. He is preeminently a man of large affairs whose record is written in terms of success. His life has been well spent, characterized by the conservation of his forces, by the recognition and utilization of opportunity and by a correct understanding of life’s values and purposes. The strength that he manifests in business circles has its root in upright, honorable manhood, winning for him the unqualified respect and esteem of those with whom he has been associated.