Gene's Note: Remembering Curtis Kinney, Member 01
I am moved to write this article today because of the recent passing of a member that has truly been there from the start, Curtis Kinney. In 1956, when the Jackson County Teachers Federal Credit Union (JCTFCU) first opened its doors, Curtis Kinney was there and joined the credit union as member number one. He was elected to the Board of Directors and served as the Treasurer of the Credit Union. At that time, the Treasurer ran the operations of the credit union. Just eight months into his term, he had the opportunity to return to his home state of Indiana to pursue his passion for teaching. However, even though he lived in Indiana, Curtis always remained a loyal member of Rogue and his impact is still felt today.
Curtis dedicated 40 years of his life to education. He was a pioneer in the field of teaching Data Processing and was the first licensed Data Processing teacher in Indiana; he spent 26 years of his career teaching this discipline His Data Processing intensive lab was recognized in 1985 by the U.S. Office of Education with the "Secretary's Award for Outstanding Vocational Education Program". Curtis dedicated his life to serving others, including serving for 20 years on the Evansville Teachers Credit Union's Board of Directors. Here, he helped to build on the cooperative ideals of people helping people that he learned in Oregon.
When people ask me what makes Rogue unique, I tell them that no matter our size, we are still a hometown credit union that remains true to our roots. Living local is not just a tag line, it is a commitment to know our members and to show them the same loyalty that they graciously give to us. How many companies today can say that they know, and have stayed connected with their first customer or member? Rogue can!
In 2006, Curtis joined us for our 50th Annual Meeting, where we were able to recognize him for his lifelong dedication and loyalty to the Credit Union. We kept in touch and were excited to hear that he could join us again for our 60th Annual Meeting in 2016. His presence at our 60th Annual Meeting resulted in a chance opportunity where we could celebrate Curtis as member 1, and introduce him to Kelly Hink, our 100,000th member. During this visit, Curtis' family joined him, and they were able to share in honoring his place in Rogue's history with the unveiling of the Curtis Kinney Meeting Room, located in the South Medford Administration Building. When his son walked in the room, he spotted a picture of Crater Lake hanging on the wall and remarked "How did you know that Crater Lake was dad's favorite spot?" The answer, we didn't, but now we know why fate chose it for this room!
After his visit, I received a note from his daughter Sarah saying,
“I wanted to give you my sincere thanks for treating my dad like a king! He was so thrilled with everything going on at your credit union, and especially the meeting room with his name on it. This may be the last time we ever get to visit Medford as a family, and thanks to you it is a memory to last a lifetime!”
Unfortunately, that was Curtis' last trip to visit Southern Oregon. Even though Curtis has passed, his role in starting the Credit Union and setting the stage for all we enjoy today will always be fondly remembered here at Rogue. Curtis was a loyal member of Rogue for his entire life, and even though he only served our members for 8 short months, he had such a passion for the vision of JCTFCU that he stayed connected to Rogue throughout the years. To Curtis, JCTFCU, which eventually became Rogue Credit Union, was more than just a financial institution. He knew and demonstrated ownership in the Credit Union from day one until his final day.
I am honored to work for an organization that has committed and passionate members like Curtis and each and every one of you!
Curtis, you will always have a place in our history...and in our hearts!