In Memoriam: Elizabeth Hamilton, Industry's Longest-Serving Volunteer
Services were held Wednesday in Greensboro, N.C., to celebrate and remember the life of Elizabeth N. “Sis” Hamilton, a 60-year credit union CEO, the industry’s longest-serving board member and one of the movement’s early female trailblazers.
She passed away May 30 at the age of 92.
After accepting a job with Southern Bell Telephone Company, Hamilton was only 18 when she was elected to the board of directors and appointed secretary of the newly founded Tri-City Telco Credit Union, which is now the $231 million Summit Credit Union in Greensboro.
Shortly after being elected to the board, she became the credit union’s manager and served as the chief executive for six decades. Hamilton also served on the board for 70 years, making her the longest serving director in credit union history, according to Summit.
“Sis was a lifelong learner with a can-do attitude,” Sam Whitehurst, president/CEO of Summit, said. “She was supportive and encouraging, but most of all she loved credit unions and the people-helping-people philosophy.”
Whitehurst added that Hamilton was an innovative trailblazer, bringing the latest services to members and holding volunteer leadership roles locally and nationally. During her years as CEO of Summit, she also managed as many as four other credit unions.
She served 12 years on the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors Council Board and was elected to the CUNA board in 1967.
Hamilton also served for 25 years on the North Carolina Credit Union League board as the first woman director.
Throughout her career, she received numerous industry accolades including the 2003 prestigious Order of Longleaf Pine and the 2007 Larry Johnson Order of Merit Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest award presented to North Carolina credit union leaders. In 2012, she was named North Carolina Credit Union Volunteer of the Year.
Hamilton’s family suggests memorial contributions can be made to the Elizabeth N. and James Hamilton Scholarship Fund, c/o Summit Credit Union, 8210 W. Market St., Greensboro, N.C. 27409.