Johnson – 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,” California and Nevada Credit Union League President and CEO Diana Dykstra told CU Insight. “Dick will be missed by all. We are all saddened by this great loss not only to the industry but through our personal relationships with him throughout the years.”
Before his storied credit union career, Johnson served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1941 until he retired as a colonel in 1972. As a marine, he amassed a vast number of honors and awards, including the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, according to a profile published by CU Insight.
As a military officer, 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.
It was in the marines that Johnson started in the world of credit unions, 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.
Retiring from the military, Johnson moved to what was then the California Central Federal Credit Union in 1976. The union 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 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.
In 1999, the California Filene Foundation, established to promote credit union education, was renamed in his honor.
Johnson received the California League’s highest honor, the Leo H. Shapiro Lifetime Achievement Award, in 2002. He received the 1993 Dick Ayres Memorial Award, which recognized corporate executives who 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. 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 is named after now retired WCMS Dean and President Dr. James D. Likens and 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.
Johnson is a graduate of the University of Maryland.
Details about services will be announced at a later date.