John Kahl Figge was being remembered Friday as a banking and community leader, a strong role model and simply a nice guy.

Figge, 71, of Sea Island, Ga., formerly of Davenport, died Friday.

He was the son of V.O. Figge, a business leader who forged the Davenport Bank and Trust Co. into Iowa's largest and most profitable bank.

John Figge began his career at Davenport Bank and Trust in 1960 and later became president in 1980 and was chief executive officer at the time of the sale of the bank to Norwest Corp. in 1992.

"John was one of the nicest guys I ever worked for. He treated all employees well. He was just the kind of guy who you wanted to work for," said Michael Bauer, who retired in May as president and CEO of Quad-City Bank & Trust.

Bauer said Figge worked summers at Davenport Bank and Trust while attending college and then began working there full time in 1970. He left in 1992 to start Quad-City Bank & Trust.

He said Figge was smart, but also had a soft side to him. "I don't know anybody who didn't like John," he said.

"He was such a generous man, just a great role model to all of us," said Beth Lemek of Chevy Chase, Md., one of Figge's daughters. "I would say he was loved by very many people."

After the sale of Davenport Bank and Trust to Norwest Corp., Norwest then bought Wells Fargo in 1998, but kept the Wells Fargo name.

John Stavnes is regional president for eastern Iowa and western Illinois for Wells Fargo. When he arrived in town in 1996, Stavnes said he did not know anyone in the community. So, Figge helped him meet people. John Figge still was serving on the bank advisory board at the time.

"Even though the Figges sold their interest in the bank, they have been an important part of its legacy," Stavnes said. "This is a loss, not just for his family, but the whole community."

"We were friends for a long time," said Tom Gildehaus, president emeritus of the Figge Board of Trustees, the governing board of the Figge Art Museum in Davenport. He also served as executive director of the museum for 18 months.

"I have known John for over 25 years. He was an elegant, distinguished, caring man who had wonderful concern for those charities and other institutions he was interested in. ... He cared for his family and friends and his business associates. He was an honest, hard-working, conscientious and caring man. We will all miss him."