Susan Conjurski, president/CEO of the $24 million Printing Industries Credit Union in Commerce, Calif., recalls a casual conversation about motorcycles she had with her newly hired vice president of operations Larry Dodge, who drove his motorcycle to work every morning.
“We got into a conversation about motorcycles because my son recently bought a Harley Davidson, which as a mother I wasn’t too happy about,” said Conjurski. Then Dodge began to assure her that riding a motorcycle is safe, noting that he had been a motorcyclist for a long time.
The next morning, on Jan. 10, as he was driving his motorcycle to a meeting with Conjurski in Commerce, Dodge died after his motorcycle was involved in an accident with a car just a mile from where he was to meet Conjurski, said Dodge's stepson, Nicholas S. Shantar, a senior counsel with the Los Angeles law firm Allen Matkins' Irvine office.
“His heart stopped when he was under surgery for internal bleeding,” said Shantar. “He was talking at the scene and talking going into surgery. I think he was aware that my mom (Patricia Dodge) was on her way to the hospital while he was going into surgery. But by the time she got there, he had passed away. It was pretty traumatic for her. She is doing better now in a relative sense but it is still heartbreaking. It certainly came as a shock and our family is devastated.”
The 65-year-old Dodge, a well-known executive veteran who worked in the California credit union industry for more than 20 years, married Patricia eight and a half years ago. They lived in Mission Viejo.
Shantar said Dodge was wearing a helmet, but he still doesn’t yet know all of the details of the accident or how it happened other than the fact that Dodge’s motorcycle came into contact with another car at the intersection of South Garfield Avenue and Randolph streets in Los Angeles between 8:30 a.m. to 8:50 a.m.
“I’ve asked for the police report a million times and they keep telling us it is going to be a month before it’s ready,” said Shantar. “It’s somewhat frustrating, but what are you going to do.”
The accident investigation is being handled by East Los Angeles Division of the Los Angeles Sherriff’s Department.
Shantar said Dodge has been cremated and the family has not decided on a memorial service yet.
“I think if the family does some (memorial) service it will be pretty small," said Shantar. “I don’t think we will be making a public announcement for a funeral service. That’s the way Larry would have wanted it. Larry was the kind of guy who wouldn’t want people getting upset (over his death). He would want people to remember him for who he was and move on. He was just always thinking of others.”
Conjurski said Dodge had been working as a compliance consultant for Printing Industries Credit Union for about three years until he was hired as the cooperative’s vice president of operations on Dec. 13.
“He was a key person at the credit union and was very knowledgeable,” Conjurski said. “One thing I can sum up about him is that the man had a heart of gold. He was willing to help anybody, anytime, anywhere.”
Dodge launched his career in 1990 at the Toyota Motor Federal Credit Union where he was vice president of branch administration. In 1998, he was named president/CEO of the Nissan Federal Credit Union. In October of 2008, he became a consultant and joined Shapiro Partners in Brea, Calif.