A Tribute by Kathy MaGaw
If you attended the funeral mass celebrating the life of Bill Shine, who died on February 27, 2005 at age 79, you would have seen a great many familiar faces from Chase Manhattan Bank. It was comforting to know that so many of us remembered, and respected, Bill lo these many years since his retirement. After all, he had attained the rank of Senior Vice President back in the days when there were just a handful in the entire corporation. That was a very big deal...or perhaps not.
Those who eulogized Bill his pastor and his son, Kevin spoke of his passions: his family, his faith, his service to others and his charity. The reverend spoke of Billšs service in the United States Marine Corps and how he had adopted their motto of Semper Fidelis Always Faithful as a way of life. He spoke about how Bill fulfilled his service to his country (and received several battlefield commissions) in places like Iwo Jima and Korea, but how far greater was his sense of duty to his family and to those in need.
Kevin noted how his dad loved his years at Boston College (Class of 1951), and how it wasn't the academics or even the school's football program that he most cherished. To Bill, it was how he was enlightened there at BC about the true meaning of charity, and how the Jesuit Tradition of "Service to Others" resonated within him throughout his life.
Few, if any, of us in the church thought of Bill as a Chase senior officer or even as a colleague. We all thought of him instead, as a friend...who we just happened to meet while working at the Bank.
Neither eulogist spoke of Bill's years at Chase. That seemed fitting, because it wasn't the professional positions that he held that were most important; instead, it was what he did, and how he helped others through those positions, that truly mattered. Here are but a few examples...
Just after dawn on the day following a night when a particularly heavy snowstorm had blanketed the bankšs credit card center in Lake Success, a handful of employees were seen plodding their way through the mounds of snow long before the plows could make it to the building. They were Special Needs individuals from a school in the area for the disabled. When asked how they had made it through in all the bad weather, they replied that they had gotten up extra early because they had made a promise to the man who had hired them, Bill Shine, that they would never be late.
Likewise, when a major business unit was in the midst of a significant systems conversion, a key system's officer experienced a relapse of back problems. Although he was in considerable pain, he continued to successfully manage the project from his bed at home. When it was suggested that he 'hand over' the project and get some well needed rest, his reply was that he could not do so as he was making good on a commitment that he had made to the man who hired him. This systems professional had been seriously wounded in Vietnam. While in the hospital recuperating, his ward received a visit from a former Marine (if there is such a person) who handed out Chase neckties along with his business card and the suggestion that the injured men give him a call when they were ready for a job. That man was Bill Shine.
Quite a few CAA members worked directly for, or with, Bill. They were the lucky ones. But even those of us who didn't, were the beneficiaries of his many, many contributions to Chase. We worked in the buildings he acquired or constructed as the head of Administrative Services. We relied on systems and operational processes he put into production during his many years in the Operations & Systems function. And, we worked with colleagues... and friends...who were brought into the Bank by Bill.
On a personal note, I finally met Bill toward the very end of his career with Chase, but he was no stranger to me, as his reputation had preceded him. He was everything that I thought he would be and I had pretty high expectations as he was the man respected by the people I held in the highest regard.
Bill is survived by his wife, Joanne, and Kevin and his family. Sadly, his daughter Eleanor (Ellie) passed away at age 39 just a few weeks before Bill. She too, had roots within Chase, as she had worked in the credit card business and the private bank for several years after graduation.
Friends may express their condolences by dropping a note to Joanne at: 2329 Lancaster Ave., Baldwin, NY 11510.
Those wishing to remember Bill through a donation may do so by making a contribution in his name to:
The INN (Interfaith Nutrition Network)
P.O. Box #7661
Freeport, NY 11720