Credit Union Times pays tribute to those leaders and pioneers who passed away in 2008. Please note this listing is not exhaustive. We respectfully regret any oversights.
HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union mourned the loss of former President/CEO Ron Ogata. A 40-year financial services industry veteran, Ogata led HawaiiUSA FCU from 1988 to 2002, and during his tenure total assets more than doubled and membership tripled, making HawaiiUSA FCU the largest credit union in the State of Hawaii.
Ogata also urged Hawaii credit unions to form alliances as a way to deliver credit union services to all members faster and cheaper, bringing together both big and small credit unions. In 1999, through the cooperation of seven other Hawaiian credit unions, Ogata's vision of a Hawaii Shared Branching Network was realized.
Longtime credit union leader Ruth Kelly died at the age of 87 from stroke complications. Kelly was instrumental in the development of the national credit union movement and was one of the founders of the Education Credit Union Council. Kelly also served as a CUNA director and a director for the Indiana Credit Union League. She became the first woman to serve as chairperson of the ICUL.
The New York Credit Union Association lost New York State Credit Union Hall of Famer Anthony P. Bax, who died at the age of 90. A 45-year credit union veteran, Bax had many accomplishments and is credited with saving Greater Niagara Federal Credit Union.
Former Empower Federal Credit Union Co-President/CEO J. Raymond Curtin, died suddenly on July 21, 2008. Over a 30-year career in the financial services industry, Curtin was a progressive leader in the credit union movement. He assisted in the successful merger that created Empower FCU, a $640 million plus credit union, and served as the new credit union's co-president/CEO until his retirement in December 2007. He also taught at SUNY Oswego where he was professor of finance.
William Sterner, long leading industry figure on both the national and international scene and the president/CEO of Elevations Credit Union, died of complications from a heart attack. Sterner, 66, who was stricken at a legislative meeting in Denver, was also the current chairman of the Credit Union Association of Colorado, its service corporation and previously was a top manager at CUNA, the California and Kansas leagues and the World Council of Credit Unions.
Pen Air Federal Credit Union took two hard losses as 26-year industry veteran and President/CEO John A. Davis died at the age of 52 and former board chairman Arthur Carroll Martin also passed away this year.
Davis, who led the credit union since June 1998, is credited for much of the credit union's growth and success. He was also renowned for his industry dedication, evidenced during Hurricane Katrina when the Pen Air CEO loaded a van owned by the county sheriff with $1.2 million and drove it to Keesler FCU in Biloxi, Miss., to assist in Keesler's recovery.
As for Martin, during his years with the credit union, he oversaw many grassroots efforts to combat taxation and membership issues. Credit union executives note that as a World War II veteran, Martin was an invaluable source of insight to the civil service and military members of Pen Air FCU.
Longtime The Golden 1 Credit Union marketer and former senior vice president Dave Thompson passed away at the age of 71. Thompson, who helped lead the credit union's marketing efforts for 27 years until his retirement in July 2004, played key roles in the advocacy of credit unions, serving as a charter member on the Marketing Association of Credit Unions. He also served on the advisory committee for the Sacramento Valley Marketing Association.
U.S. New Mexico Federal Credit Union mourned the loss of its former President/CEO John Thompson, who with a focus on service to the credit union membership, led the credit union from 1979 to 2000. Thompson also played a major role in the credit union community, serving as a board director for NAFCU, CUNA and Southwest Corporate. He was also president of the New Mexico Credit Union League.