In Memoriam: Pioneers, Rising Stars and Established Leaders Pass in 2006
2006 unfortunately saw some tragic deaths of rising credit union stars such as Mike Osborne and Kelly Purcell. Longtime pioneers like John Arnold also passed, as did well-known experts like William R. Mapother.
Credit Union Times pays tribute to these leaders in this special section. Please note this listing is not exhaustive. We respectfully regret any oversights. Southwest Corporate Founder, Corporate Pioneer John Arnold Dies DALLAS -- Southwest Corporate FCU founder John Arnold died July 17. Arnold, 74, suffered a heart attack. Arnold is recognized as one of the true pioneers of the corporate credit union network He was the first CEO of Southwest Corporate and one of the founding fathers of today's corporate network. Prior to his corporate career, he served as a part-time manager with ADA Credit Union, manager of Monsanto Chocolate Bayou FCU and vice president with the Texas CU League. After retiring from Southwest in 1995, Arnold stayed active in the industry as a consultant to several credit unions and he also authored "The Journey, A History of the Corporate Credit Union Network on behalf of the Association of Corporate CUs in 1992. Bankruptcy Guru William R. Mapother Dies After Long Struggle with Disease ST. LOUIS -- William R. Mapother, 68, died June 22 after a long battle with pulmonary fibrosis and cancer. Mapother was renowned in the industry for his knowledge of bankruptcy law and collections. He specialized in helping credit unions employ policies and strategies to protect against bankruptcy and recover seemingly lost loans using collection techniques. He authored 13 books on bankruptcy. Mapother was a regular speaker at credit union conferences. First Tech's Mike Osborne Dies from Pneumonia
BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Considered one of the industry's innovators, Mike Osborne, executive vice president and CFO at First Tech Credit Union, died on May 13 at the age of 49 of pneumonia.
Osborne joined First Tech CU in 1993 after a successful career in public accounting at PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP. He facilitated the mergers of several credit unions into the First Tech family. In addition to leading the credit union in innovation and service to its members, Osborne was widely viewed as a champion for difference. His passion about the legislative and regulatory issues facing credit unions led him to testify on their behalf before the Oregon state legislature and remain active at the federal level as well. Osborne also served on the board at Northwest Corporate Federal Credit Union and was very active with the Oregon Credit Union Association.
Osborne was widely known in the industry's IT and CFO circles as a voracious student of information technology strategies and ways to really make them work for credit unions.
Besides his commitment to the credit union, the movement and the Credit Unions for Kids program, a nonprofit effort to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network, Osborne was the current board chair of the Beaverton School Board. He was also a volunteer with March of Dimes and many other community organizations. Famed CU Attorney Chuck Seibold Dies
WASHINGTON -- Former CUNA General Counsel Charles "Chuck" Seibold passed away in December. He was 81.
Most recently he had been working as a senior partner of Dewitt Ross & Stevens in Madison, Wis., representing several credit unions nationwide. In 2004, he received the first "Chuck Seibold Credit Union Attorney of the Year" award, given to a credit union attorney for outstanding achievement in the previous year or for lifetime achievement.
Seibold was a World War II combat veteran and prisoner of war. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1950. Progressive CU Board Member Aaron 'Arcky' Familant Passes
MONROE TOWNSHIP, N.J. -- A pivotal icon in the New York credit union movement, the industry lost Aaron "Arcky" Familant at the age of 85 on July 10.
Familant served on the board of Progressive Credit Union for nearly 50 years until the time of his death. He also served as a director and president of the New York State Credit Union League and a director at CUNA. Familant made history when he became the first credit union professional to serve on the New York State Banking Board, having been appointed by former Gov. Mario Cuomo. Prior to that, officials from the New York State Banking Department tapped him to help recodify the state's banking law.
Familant is survived by his son, Robert, president/CEO of Progressive Credit Union, a daughter Linda Meisel of Princeton; four grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Familant's wife, Rosalind, also considered a strong credit union supporter, died three years ago. California League Government Affairs Staffer Purcell Killed in Car Accident RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. -- Kelly Purcell, director of federal government affairs for the California and Nevada CU Leagues, died in August after being struck by a car while bicycling near her home in Chino, Calif. "Kelly was a tireless advocate for California and Nevada credit unions. She brought energy and enthusiasm to our advocacy efforts and developed strong relationships with members of Congress, where she was widely known and respected," said Matt Davidson, league executive vice president of CCUL. Purcell was considered one of the rising stars of the credit union industry. She had been with CCUL since 2003. CU Movement Loses a Leader--Former Wescom CEO Robert Brain
PASADENA -- After battling Lou Gehrig's disease, Wescom Credit Union Founder Robert T. Brain has died at the age of 75.
He began as general manager of the one-branch credit union in 1971.
Under Brain's leadership Wescom grew from $33 million in assets to more than $1 billion. Serving as president/CEO for over 26 years, Brain was known for always focusing on member service, which helped the credit union add over 100,000 members, expand to 12 branches and become a leader in convenience with its ATM and Internet services when he retired in 1997.
A dedicated leader in the credit union movement, Brain served on the board of the California Credit Union League and the Information Technologies Credit Union Association; was co-chairman of the National Alliance for Credit Unions; and served on the advisory committee of the California Commissioner of Corporations and the NASCUS advisory council. Selco Mortgage Leader Dent Dies at 50
EUGENE, Ore. -- Mark Dent, president and chief operations officer of Frontier Investment Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Selco Community Credit Union, died Sept. 2 at the age of 50 from complications related to cancer.
Dent also served as vice president, operations manager of SELCO Mortgage Company, LLC. He had over 19 years of experience in the mortgage industry and initiated agreements between Frontier and the Credit Union Association of Oregon and the Washington CU League. The Golden 1 CU Mourns Loss Of Tech Leader
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Golden 1 Credit Union Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer Michael D. Grommesh, 52, died on Oct. 3 from Lou Gehrig's disease.
Grommesh was active on the national CU scene, having served in board positions with CUNA, the California CU League and Western Payments Alliance. He also played a key role in one of the industry's most notable innovations--indirect lending. Grommesh helped create the Credit Union Direct Lending network in the early '90s.