Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union is mourning the loss of former President/CEO Gary Bell, who died at the age of 54 from complications following a severe bacterial sinus infection.
Always dedicated to a life of public and community service to improve the lives of others, Bell got his start in Wichita, Kan., where he not only became the second African-American to serve on the Wichita council, but the youngest as well.
He served the Berkeley, Calif., credit union as CEO from 2000-2002 and returned to serve as president/CEO in 2008 until his illness.
“He was a skilled manager who brought to the credit union a strong capacity to build and sustain a positive rapport between the staff and members,” said James Garret, board chairman of the $103 million CCFCU. “His warmth and infectious smile are well remembered by many members.”
He added that Bell was greatly respected both at the credit union and in the Bay Area community. Bell served on the Richmond, Calif., City Council from 2001-2004, and last year had been re-elected to that position when he became ill.
“CCFCU will miss Gary Bell, as will many others in our community. However we will recognize that we have greatly benefitted from his contributions to our credit union and to the communities he served throughout his life,” Garret said.
Bell is survived by his wife Shelley Ross-Bell; sons Gary Jr. and Germaine; eight brothers and sisters Edward Bell Jr., Anthony Bell, Charles Bell, his twin sister Gale Bray, Carol Davis, Carolyn Young, Jacqueline Bell-Murry, and Donald Bell.
In lieu of flowers the family asks donations be made to the Gary Bell Memorial Fund. Services were held Wednesday at Hilltop Community Church in Richmond.