In Memoriam: AACUC Executive Director Priest Dies
Lillian Priest, the executive director for the African American Credit Union Coalition, died Tuesday after a prolonged illness, the organization said Wednesday.
Priest worked for the AACUC for more than 10 years and had been a major contributor to the growth and professional development of the coalition.
“Her dedication and commitment to AACUC is unparalleled. She increased the membership during her tenure, and continued to develop and further reinforce the AACUC mission which is to increase the strength of the global credit union movement,” the AACUC said in a statement to CU Times.
Since 1981, Priest had also been a volunteer at the $100 million Shreveport Federal Credit Union in Shreveport, La., serving on various committees. Over the past eight years, she served on the credit union’s board.
“Lillian was an inspiration to me from my earliest years at the credit union,” Helen Smith, president/CEO of Shreveport FCU, told CU Times correspondent Peter Strozniak.
Godfrey had known Priest since 1983.
“She was a staunch supporter of the credit union as a means of empowering people," she said.
Priest also served on the Caddo Parish School Board, District 7 in Shreveport since November 2004. In August, she announced that she would not seek re-election to the board due to health issues.
Because she was very active politically, Smith said friends affectionately called her the local “king or queen maker.”
“She ran a number of elections for other people and for herself,” Smith said. “Lillian had that unique skill as she served as campaign director for mayoral and state senate races. I learned so much from her on how to navigate the political scene and how to lobby for the credit union movement.”
Priest received her Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern State University and continued her studies toward a Master’s degree at Louisiana State University-Shreveport. She is a graduate of the Leadership Shreveport and Leadership Louisiana programs.
“Lillian will truly be remembered for her commitment and dedication to our organization. She will always be cherished by the AACUC Board of Directors, members and the credit union industry,” said Lynette Smith, AACUC chairperson.
Funeral services for Priest will take place Sept. 6 at 2 p.m. at the St. Mary Baptist Church in Shreveport.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Lillian Priest Scholarship and Building Fund at any Shreveport FCU branch. The fund was established to help students attend college and to help build a family life center at her church, according to Smith.