Unitus Community Credit Union Board Member, Barbara Leonard, Passes Away

Portland, Ore., October 10, 2012 – Unitus Community Credit Union lost a dear friend and long-time board member this weekend as Barbara Leonard—a celebrated wife, mother, professional and influential community partner—passed away.  Barbara had served on Unitus’ Board of Directors for more than 20 years, including a term as board chair.  She was 65 years old.

“Barbara was truly one of a kind.  She was passionate about life and poured her heart and soul into each and every opportunity she pursued,” said Unitus President and CEO Patricia Smith.  “Everyone who had the privilege of knowing and serving with her can testify to her dedication, her enthusiasm and her generous spirit.  She was simply one of Portland’s best and she will be deeply missed.”

Barbara was a prominent and beloved figure among Portland’s professional and charitable networks.  She enjoyed remarkable success in her more than 30 years with US West Communications, but her greatest passion was helping others.  Barbara was a tireless supporter of numerous community service projects and devoted her leadership abilities to help many local nonprofits.  Most recently, she served as president of the Portland Chapter of The Links, Incorporated—an international women’s civic organization for which she raised over $500,000 for educational scholarships.  Barbara was also an active member of Maranatha Church in Northeast Portland and a mentor to students at a local high school.

For her professional and charitable service, Barbara received numerous awards. She was recently named Women of the Year by the Portland Soroptomist Club for her work to improve the lives of women and girls through personal and professional activities.  In 2011, the Northwest Community Credit Union Association awarded Barbara with the Honor Roll and Hall of Fame Award for her volunteer and community service.  >From the March of Dimes, she received the annual White Rose Award, which recognizes local women whose professional and charitable service have had a positive impact in the community.  Barbara also received the Women of Excellence Award from Delta Sigma Theta and the Unsung Hero Award from the National Organization of Black Elected Legislators.

Though her commitments were many, Smith said that Barbara still brought tremendous energy as a volunteer board member to help make Unitus one of the region’s top credit unions.  “Barbara loved what Unitus stands for—its members, employees and the values that make credit unions so special.  As board chair, she exuded a rare combination of visionary leadership and personal warmth.  Though we are sad at her passing, we are so thankful for her life and all that she means to so many people.”

Barbara leaves behind her husband Ben, one son and one daughter, two stepdaughters, 13 grandchildren and two great grandsons.

About Unitus Community Credit Union

Unitus Community Credit Union is a not-for-profit, member-owned financial institution serving people living or working in Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Benton, Columbia, Deschutes, Douglas, Hood River, Jackson, Josephine, Linn and Lane counties in Oregon and the state of Washington.  Additional information about Unitus is available at or by calling (800) 452-0900.

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