In Memoriam: Francis “Dick” Richard Turnbach, 77

At Chase for Almost 30 Years

Francis Richard “Dick” Turnbach, 77, of Bethlehem, PA, died on December 29, 2015 at the Hospice House of St. Luke's in Lower Saucon Township, PA.

Turnbach was stationed in Okinawa as a cryptanalyst-linguist in the U.S. Air Force in the late 1950s. He was hired by Chase shortly after his military tour ended. He met his wife who worked in the Chase secretarial pool. He did not discuss his career much, but it seems he worked with trust accounts, electronic funds transfer and systems operations before leaving Chase in 1985 on disability for cardiac issues. His family also recalls his working with Tito Jaen.

His daughter Jessica recalls, "His own father passed away when he was three years old from a heart attack back in 1942. It was a miracle that he lived as long as he did, since he had multiple heart attacks, angioplasties, bypass surgeries. He was very interested in genealogy and pursued that interest after he left Chase. Having not known much of his father, or his father's side of the family, I imagine this hobby helped fill a hole in his heart. He wrote a book for local genealogy nuts in the eastern Pennsylvania area called Pioneers and Patriots: Over the Blue Mountain in the mid-1990s."

Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Barbara; daughters Lauren T. Brennan and Jessica M. Turnbach, both of Bethlehem, and Kristen B. Turnbach of Berks County, PA; sons Richard of Smith Gap, Woodlands, PA, and Joseph A. of Summerville, SC; and seven grandchildren.

Contributions may be made to St. Luke's Hospice c/o Development Department, 801 Ostrum Street, Bethlehem, PA 18015.

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From Larry Stirling: I first met Dick when, in 1968, we made the first page of The New York Times business section with an article that outlined our Account Reconciliation Department's  inability to reconcile the Times account for 18 months.  Many of you will recall that time.  Needless to say, that got the attention of some execs at CMB. Dick was named the AT in charge, with the mission to clean it up ASAP.  Dick reached out to the Bank's Ops & Systems training program (CDP) to put a few trainees to the acid test.   We were installed as supervisors of sections and were told, "You get it done and I'll take the heat."  Well he did. - some would say above all odds.   
     I had the good fortune to work with him over the years to come and there are many, many lasting memories. Dick became an SVP when that title was just not held by Ops & Systems officers and there were probably fewer than 75 people with that title bankwide. He was responsible for mentoring (even if we did not know it at the time) many of us and, I believe, responsible for the career success of many of us who were within his sphere of influence. Unconventional – absolutely.  Exemplified the concept of "thinking outside the 9 dots." Had a vision of the future that made one question his sanity but were realized over the near term time horizon. Tested you but was there to help and give you guidance when you needed it - yup.
     There are may of us who owe Dick for our successes. The stories are endless and, I'm sure, will grow over time. I, for one, can say that I will miss him and will not forget this person who, to many, was unique and legendary and, as the old Cadillac ads said, "Unique in all the world".