In Memoriam: Credit Union Leaders Gone Too Soon in 2005
2005 marked the loss of remarkable credit union leaders. Credit Union Times honors those who died in this listing. We regret any leaders who passed that we may have missed. Richard Flynn, former CUNA Credit Union CEO died at the age of 86. The credit union's second CEO, Flynn spent some six years as in the position until his retirement in 1980. Flynn also served as an early employee of CUNA Supply Corporation one of the early offshoots of what is now CUNA & Affiliates. Hubert Sibley, one of the movement's early pioneers died of complications from a stroke. The former South Florida Educational FCU President/CEO was considered a legend within the Miami-Dade County School System given his over 50 years of service to the credit union. During his five-decade tenure, the credit union grew from 2,000 to 47,000 members and assets passed the $550 million mark. Sibley was also responsible for a physical fitness program that awarded credit union employees with cash prizes and vacations if they reached certain goals. He played a significant role in the establishment and early success of NAFCU and was the association's principal organizer in the East. In 1996, the Miami-Dade County School System named a school in his honor-the Hubert O. Sibley Elementary School in Miami. Scott Credit Union President/CEO Jim Bright died at the age of 58 from a massive heart attack. At the time of his death, Bright was second vice chairman of the Defense Credit Union Council. He served as DCUC chairman from September 1996-August 1999. An advocate of the Credit Union Political Action Committee, Bright during his career also served as treasurer and former chairman of the Midwest Defense CU Sub-Council; chairman, Southern Illinois Chapter of CUs; president, St. Louis CU Management Association; and chairman, Mid-States Corporate FCU Credit Committee. Longtime credit union leader and former South Carolina Federal Credit Union CEO Robert Dargan died at the age of 64, ending his two-year battle with cancer. Dargan, who led SCFCU from 1992 to 2004, was known as a leader in the South Carolina financial community and throughout the Southeast for over 30 years. A volunteer for various organizations, Dargan was also the first CO-OP Network board director from the southeastern U.S. University of Tennessee Federal Credit Union CEO Tom Adelman died at the age of 47 from a heart attack. Prior to leading UT FCU in 2003, Adelman served as executive vice president of finance and administrative services at San Diego-based First Future CU for some six years. He also worked as a CFO at U.S. Community Savings Bank and International Savings Bank. A strong believer in credit unions Adelman did not hesitate to leave a long established career in traditional banking to do what he said was "his part for the world." Richard Rogers, president/CEO of Sandia Area FCU and Credit Union Association of New Mexico board chairman died at the age of 49 from complications from a respiratory illness. An executive in financial services for nearly 30 years, with the last 10 heading Sandia Area FCU, Rogers was involved in many credit union affiliations at the local, regional and national levels. James C. Purnell, a long-time advocate of financial equality for African-Americans, died on March 24 after being hospitalized for chest pains. Purnell, 84, helped establish the Sentinel Credit Union in 1958, which provided financial services for an underserved Central District community in Seattle. The CU later merged with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's CU, which was absorbed by another institution that became 1st Security Bank of Washington. Purnell's youngest child, Mardine Michelle Purnell-Hepburn, is vice president and CFO of Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union. Beyond credit unions, Purnell was also a pioneer in the banking world. In 1968, he, along with his wife, Mardine, helped launched Liberty Bank, Seattle's first African-American-owned bank.