The Days of Their Lives


DaysOfTheirLivesBut the answers become focused on one person. Paducah Bank shares the thoughts and feelings of several clients whose lives were forever changed by their circumstances, and whose financial futures have been consigned to one trusted advisor—Wendy Kester of Paducah Financial Consultants.

celestaWilsonCelesta Wilson graduated from Lyon County High School in 1949, began working the switchboard for the Southern Bell company in 1950, and later became one of the company’s first female foreman. From the beginning, and throughout her 35-year career, Celesta purchased institutional stock with each paycheck. 

Celesta witnessed the company’s transition to South Central Bell, then to Bell South, and finally, most recently, to AT&T. With numerous stock splits, re-issues and corporate reorganizations, her holdings were complex and splintered.

Early in her career with one of America’s legendary corporations, Celesta felt the need to broaden her education, so she began going to college at night at Paducah Junior College. “I had two young sons, a full-time job and a truckdriving husband who was away most of each week, and I was going to school at night to get my Associate Degree,” Celesta remembers. This hard-working, determined mom did just that and then continued her classroom work with additional courses at PCC, and even now, in her 70s, is attending WKCTC!

Coming full circle has been a part of Celesta Wilson’s life in more ways than her continuing education. In fact, her relationships have also re-emerged from past acquaintances. Celesta’s husband, Rob Wilson, was a budget and finance manager at Union Carbide and long-time friends with fellow employee, Jim Gresham. After Rob’s death in 2006, Celesta also found friendship and support from Jim in her time of need.

Wendy Kester was yet another source of support during the difficult days after Rob’s death. “Wendy not only helped me consolidate my company stocks, she helped me with some sales and reinvestment; she also was instrumental in helping me get accepted for long-termcare insurance,” Celesta explains. “She was much more than a trusted financial advisor. She was a friend. I could never have worked through the many complicated financial decisions necessary without her. I will always be very grateful to Wendy. And my family was impressed with her abilities as well. Now my son, Keith, who lives in Nashville, is also a client!”

TERRI FORTUNETerri Fortune and her husband first met with Wendy Kester in the spring of 2004 to set up IRAs through Paducah Financial Consultants. That August, Terri’s husband passed away suddenly. Terri was left with the management and reorganization of life insurance, investments, savings accounts and numerous joint financial products. She also had a daughter, Jill, who was attending college at the time.

“I had only been a client of Wendy’s for a short time when this took place,” Terri comments. “So I really didn’t know Wendy very well at that time. However, since that time I can say that Wendy and I have not only a fantastic working relationship, but even greater, a personal friendship. I could never have survived these last four years without Wendy’s support.”

Wendy has worked with Terri to set up a personal life insurance policy and an annuity for retirement. “She has also made sure that I have the funds I need to live comfortably but keeps a watch on what I spend. She makes sure she knows what my long-term and shortterm goals are and helps me make adjustments according to my needs,” adds Terri.

JILL FORTUNEWendy has also assisted Terri’s daughter, Jill, with her future financial plans. “Wendy has been wonderful in helping me in an array of different ways, such as laying out a budget, investing in mutual funds and helping me set up goals for my savings. She has always been helpful in catering her advice to my personal situation. She has helped me determine the best way to pay for college as well as looking toward retirement investments in my new job as a registered nurse,” Jill says. “She even helped me find an apartment at one point!”

Both Terri and Jill are grateful with their corporate decision to work with Paducah Financial Consultants. “I love working with a local bank,” Terri says. “Wendy Kester is a great asset to Paducah Financial Consultants and Paducah Bank. She is professional and keeps up-to-date on the latest market news and investment products. I am always proud to tell everyone that Wendy handles my affairs!”

NANCY Strohkirch
NANCYSTROHKIRCHNancy Strohkirch struck up a conversation with Wendy Kester during a visit on other matters at Paducah Bank. And that was the beginning of a beautiful relationship!

“Because I went in with a completely different agenda that day, I was comfortable talking with Wendy. As we talked, I was impressed with how very knowledgeable and open she was—not at all pushy,” Nancy remembers. “She offered to look over my financial situation. I think I surprised myself when I agreed.”

The rest, as they say, is pretty much history. Nancy had been considering early retirement but was plagued with those sleepless nights when the reality converged on her quiet mind. She had spoken with several different financial advisors but nothing felt right to that point. She met with Wendy and found her to be “patient and sincere.” Wendy took the time, according to Nancy, to show her what she was currently earning and then to provide some information on a variety of options; all the while however, leaving the final decisions up to Nancy—something none of the previous investors had offered. “She would tell me ‘why’ she liked one fund over another, but the decision was always mine. When I wanted to sell stock on my own, Wendy didn’t pull back but understood my need to participate in this way. That was very impressive,” Nancy adds.

So Wendy opened one account for Nancy, then two more and now manages her entire investment portfolio. Wendy has also welcomed members of Nancy’s family into the fold. Nancy’s daughter, Julie Harvey, has become one of Wendy’s clients as she plans for her two-year-old son’s education. When Nancy’s son and daughter-in-law, Jason and Christy Strohkirch of Hwang’s Martial Arts in Paducah, needed to purchase land for their new business location, it was Wendy who helped guide them through the process. And now they’ve also set up a college fund for their daughter, Anita. In addition, Wendy’s son, Kaleb is now a student at Hwang’s and Wendy was one of Christy Strohkirch’s first clients when she began her personal trainer business. It’s become a complete family affair.

Nancy admits that this is not an easy time in the market. “But I would rather have Wendy in my corner than any other financial person I have ever worked with,” she says. “She is trustworthy, hard-working and diligent and let’s me know when things take a turn for the worse. {There was always silence from my previous advisors.} I greatly value that honesty and integrity, and I consider it invaluable to the trust we have built together.”

wendyKesterBeing a financial advisor is a rewarding career, but it is so much more than a job. It is a continuous opportunity to make lifelong friendships. Each one of these ladies is not just a client, but also a precious individual who has inspired me in so many ways. Yes, it is my responsibility to take care of them, but what I receive in return is priceless. The courage, strength, and character they have displayed during the most difficult times in their lives is truly amazing. Then to see each one of them not only get through the circumstances, but to flourish as a result, has been an incredible life lesson for me. So when I go to Celesta’s open house, Terri’s retirement party, and to Nancy’s home in Nashville, I go as a friend. They are advocates of my business and of my abilities; their confidence in me is something I treasure and work very hard to protect. I am so fortunate to have each of them, among other clients just like them, and I look forward to discovering even more in the years to come.