LANCASTER, S.C. – More than six months after retiring from Founders Federal Credit Union, the credit union she’d served for 42 years, former long-time president/CEO Laura Fleming died unexpectedly on July 21 after suffering cardiac arrest. She was 66. Fleming was known as a pioneer for women credit union CEOs. She joined what was then Springs Employee Federal Credit Union in 1960, 10 years after it was started by Col. Elliott Springs of Springs Industries. She moved up the ranks, and when Springs’ various credit unions formed Springmaid Credit Association in 1979, she became the first general manager. Fleming is highly credited with the consolidation of those credit unions and in 1980 she became president/general manager of the new Founders Federal Credit Union. Through the years, the credit union changed its name, became federally chartered and in 1992 was able to open its membership to people other than Springs Industries employees. In 1993, the CU became known as Founders Federal Credit Union. Under Fleming’s leadership, credit union assets grew to more than $837 million and 118,000 members, making it the largest in the state. Fleming was also a strong advocate of education and other community concerns. She was a past chairwoman of the South Carolina State Board of Education and served as chairwoman of both the Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce and Springs Memorial Hospital Board of Directors. Fleming also served on the Lancaster County Economic Development Corp. Board, County Council of the Arts, the York Tech College Foundation and the University of South Carolina Advisory Board. She was also a member of former Gov. Jim Hodges’ transition team. Hodges awarded Fleming the Order of the Palmetto in 2002, the South Carolina’s highest civilian honor. In memory of Fleming, Founders closed for business on July 24 between 10 am – 2 pm. Fleming, mother of two daughters and grandmother of five, is also survived by her husband, Archie. Funeral services were held on July 24 at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Lancaster, and she was laid to rest in the cemetery adjacent to the church.

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