Robert March Hanes (Sept.
22, 1890 - March 2, 1959)
March Hanes built
a statewide banking powerhouse by buying up small banks to build Wachovia Bank and Trust Co., the first statewide banking network.
Robert was born in Winston-Salem on September 22, 1890 to John
Wesley and Anna Hodgin Hanes. Attending public schools and the
Woodbury-Forest preparatory school, Robert then went on to the University
of North Carolina, receiving a B.A. in 1912. He was president of his senior
After graduation, he attended Harvard University’s School of
Business for one year before returning to Winston-Salem and serving as
treasurer of the Crystal Ice Company (1913-1917) until America entered
World War I.
He entered the Second Officers Training School at Fort
Oglethorpe in 1917, receiving a commission in artillery as first a
lieutenant and later promoted to captain. On May 8, 1918, he sailed with
his command to France and fought in the Argonne offensive.
After returning from the war he joined the Wachovia Bank
& Trust Co. serving as vice president until being named president in
In 1939, he
was elected president of the American
In 1945, He was
awarded an honorary Doctor of Law from UNC.
Between 1949 through 1951, Hanes served with the U.S. Economic Cooperation Administration --
Plan -- as chief of the Belgium-Luxembourg Mission, chief of the Frankfurt
Mission, economic adviser to the High Commissioner for Germany and as
director of Economic Affairs for Germany.
In 1956, he retired as president of Wachovia Bank's.
Hanes was a trustee of University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill, Salem College and Academy, Winston-Salem State
Teachers College (now Winston-Salem State University), the Morehead
Foundation and the Research Triangle Foundation. "He was the guiding and leading mind and spirit that gave cohesion to the efforts of all of us involved in the (formation of the Research)
Triangle," noted NC Governor Luther H. Hodges in March 1960, when he broke ground for the Robert M. Hanes Memorial Building in the Park.
He also was a director of
A banker, businessman and civic, state and national leader, Hanes served in both houses of the N.C. General Assembly
and was a leader in improving workmen's compensation in the state.
Robert M. Hanes married Mildred Borden of Goldsboro on July
Robert M. Hanes
Robert M. Hanes
Picture above courtesy Hugh Morton
Other pictures, ResolutionArchives