Credit union icon Richard Myles Johnson passes away at age 92
ONTARIO, CA (September 2, 2016) — Credit union icon Richard Myles Johnson passed away Aug. 31 at the age of 92.
The former WesCorp president and CEO—as well as the namesake for the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation—was known throughout California and the U.S. for his dedication and commitment to the credit union movement and philosophy.
“This is a very sad day for the credit union community—Dick will be missed by all,” said California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues President and CEO Diana Dykstra. “We are all saddened by this great loss not only to the industry but through our personal relationships with him throughout the years.”
Johnson first came to the world of credit unions while serving as a comptroller of the San Diego Marine Corps Recruit Depot. Maj. Gen. Kenneth L. Robinson was chairman of the board of Marine Corps Recruit Depot Federal Credit Union at the time, and asked Johnson to take the helm of the then-struggling credit union.
Johnson never looked back. He moved to then-California Central Federal Credit Union in 1976. It eventually became Western Corporate Federal Credit Union or WesCorp. He took the credit union from $71 million in assets and to a powerhouse corporate credit union with $32 billion in assets by the time he retired from the San Dimas, CA-based institution in 2002. Along the way, he gained a national charter for WesCorp, and ACH membership for credit unions, and took the first corporate CEO seat on U.S. Central board of directors.
He served as interim president of the California Credit Union League both in 1989 and 1990.
Throughout his career and even in retirement, numerous accolades and awards were bestowed on Johnson. In 1999, the California Filene Foundation, established to promote credit union education, was renamed in his honor.
“Mr. J’s leadership has been a guiding force for the RMJ Foundation, and for me both professionally and personally,” said Executive Director Tena Lozano. “He was an active, involved board member all the way to the end. His legacy, though, will live on in our work.”
He received the California League’s highest honor, the Leo H. Shapiro Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. He received the 1993 Dick Ayres Memorial Award, recognizing the corporate executive who most demonstrates the qualities of leadership, integrity, and commitment to cooperative principles and motivation. In 2001, he received the Herb Wegner Lifetime Achievement Award.
Johnson was the first credit union person to receive the National Cooperative Bank’s Cooperative Statesman Award, and he was inducted into the Credit Union Executives Society Hall of Fame.
He received the first-ever Dr. Jim D. Likens Alumni Recognition Award from Western CUNA Management School in 1991. The award, named after now retired WCMS Dean and President Dr. James D. Likens, is given to those who demonstrate professional excellence and commitment to the credit union industry. Johnson was a 1975 WCMS graduate and also served as an instructor for the school for 14 years.
Before his storied credit union career, Johnson was a Marine. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1941. He ended his military career as a colonel in 1972. Along the way, he amassed a vast number of ranks, honors, and awards, including the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. On Jan. 20, he was honored for his exemplary30-year military career by the Anaheim (California) Ducks hockey team.
A graduate of the University of Maryland, Johnson attended various executive courses at the Navy Post-Graduate School, the Department of Defense Computer Institute, the Army Management Engineer Training Agency, and the University of California. He also was an emeritus board member for Pasadena, CA-based Wescom Credit Union.
Details about services are pending.
About California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues
Headquartered in Ontario, CA, the Leagues exist to help credit unions change people’s lives by supporting their operations, guidance, strategy and philosophy. Our trade association helps local credit unions in California serve their nearly 13.3 million members and those in Nevada serve 380,000 members. Credit unions are for people, not profit!