Walter M. Deriso, Jr. (“Sonny”) was born to Walter M. Deriso, Sr. and Hilda J. Deriso on August 4, 1946, in Newnan, Georgia. Judith Anne Holman (Judy) was born to Dr. Charles M. Holman, Sr. and Anne E. Holman on December 16, 1947, in Atlanta, Georgia. Sonny and Judy met in 1964 while Sonny was a senior in high school in Newnan and Judy was a junior in high school in Albany. They were married in Albany, Georgia, on August 19, 1967, and now have three sons and ten grandchildren.
Sonny graduated from Emory College in 1968 with a B.A. in History and from Emory University School of Law in 1972 with a J.D. degree. In 1968 he joined the U.S. Army Reserve and served with the 449th Field Depot until 1974.
Judy attended Florida State University, where she was a varsity cheerleader. They married and moved to Atlanta, where Judy worked at C&S Bank as teller, loan administrator, and small business lender, and Sonny completed college and law school.
Sonny practiced law in Albany from 1972-1991. He served as President/CEO of Security Bank of Albany, a Synovus Bank, from 1991-1997, and as Vice-Chairman of Synovus from 1997-2005. He served as a member of the boards of Synovus and of Post Properties. He has served as Chairman of Atlantic Capital Bank and Atlantic Capital Bancshares, Inc. in Atlanta since their founding in 2006.
Judy was a member of the Junior League of Atlanta and the Junior League of Albany. She is active in the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Georgia. She has served as a board member of The Boys and Girls Club of Albany and has been active in various activities of the First United Methodist Church of Albany, Peachtree Road United Methodist Church of Atlanta, and as an alumna of Delta Delta Delta Sorority.
Sonny has served as chairman of several boards, including Emory University, Albany Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Bankers Association, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, and the Georgia Historical Society. He has served as President of the Rotary Club of Dougherty County and the Rotary Club of Atlanta. Sonny received the Marion Luther Brittain Service Award from Emory University in 1968, the Emory Medal in 2013, was recognized by Emory Law School in 2017 in its centennial celebration as one of the Emory Law 100, was listed in 2011 in Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 100 Most Influential Atlantans, and was recognized in 2017 by Atlanta Business Chronicle as a Most-Admired CEO.
The Walter M. Deriso, Jr. and Judith H. Deriso Fund was established in 2018, ensuring that their commitment to Georgia history will continue in perpetuity.