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CLEVELAND – Karen A. McNamara, president/CEO of the Greater Cleveland Fire Fighters Credit Union, died Aug. 2 of complications from a brain aneurysm she suffered on July 27. McNamara, 61, began working at GCFFCU on April 21, 1986 as the assistant financial manager. A little over one year later, she was promoted to the assistant to the manager, and in February 1995, she took the reins as GCFFCU’s CEO and President. As one of Ohio’s first female credit union leaders, Karen grew GCFFCU with a mix of strong determination, wisdom and compassion, the credit union said. Her leadership expanded the GCFFCU’s asset size from $48 million in 1995 to more than $100 million today. The credit union serves more than 20,000 members. McNamara also led GCFFCU through a variety of other expansions, which included doubling the size of Cleveland’s main office building, opening its first branch in Broadview Heights in early 2003 and opening the second branch in Willoughby Hills in November 2003. Only a few short weeks ago, Karen was all smiles as she ceremoniously cut the ribbon for GCFFCU’s newest branch on Cleveland’s west-side on July 17, the credit union said. An advocate of financial education, McNamara set up a student work-study program at St. Martin de Porres High School here, which will open this fall and participated in other programs to teach children fiscal responsibility. She also served as the director of the Cleveland Chapter of the Ohio Credit Union League, she was a Cleveland Saves Committee Member, Quadrangle Board Member, a member of the Northern Ohio Credit Association, and was also a Shared Branching Network Steering Committee Member. The credit union closed for business on Aug. 5 so that employees could attend funeral services, which were held at Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church in Cleveland. To honor her devotion to GCFFCU, donations may be made to St. Martin de Porres High School, 6111 Lausche Ave., Cleveland, OH 44103. McNamara is survived by her husband Pat; a daughter, Nora Evans of Fairview Park; sons, Patrick of Cleveland and Brendan of Cleveland; her father, John “Bud” Kilbane of Cleveland; two grandchildren; two brothers; and three sisters. [email protected]

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