In Memoriam: Thomas Bellinger
Ran Lincoln Building Branch
(when a branch manager had all of the customers in the area, including corporate)
Thomas Bellinger passed away June 11, 2008 in Delray Beach, FL, at the age of 86. A death notice in The New York Times said he was a lifelong devout Catholic. He held an MBA from Columbia. He leaves behind four nieces and a nephew. Donations in his memory may be made to Hospice of Palm Beach, 5300 East Road, West Palm Beach, FL 33407.
If colleagues would like to contribute recollections of Tom, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
From Steve Hunter: Some of you old branch guys may remember Tom, who was manager of branch 7, 60 East 42nd, in the Lincoln Building, when we started our so-called careers. You may also remember that those of us headed for the Metropolitan department were assigned advisors in the branch system. I was fortunate to have Tom as my advisor. Tom was one of those larger than life individuals of that era in the branches, managers of the largest branches which then seemed like small, independent banks. There was Frank Conant at Fifth and 44th, Joe Walsh, succeeded by Charlie Newton at Rockefeller Center, George Macallister at 410 Park, Gladstone Whitman at Times Square and perhaps a few others.
Maybe because I had the opportunity to get to know him better than the other “old Lions”, Tom seemed a little different from the others — less serious, more outgoing, with many interests outside the bank and business — a real renaissance man. I remember meeting with him in his large, imposing office and usually going up to the 60 East Club at the top of the Lincoln Building for lunch. Tom was a very positive role model for me in those early years, for which I am grateful.
From Joe Murphy: Following Steve Hunter's Metro Branch remembrance Tom Bellinger moved back to 1 CMP.
At the reorganization and formation of the Institutional Bank in the early 1970s, Tom was named the head of a group encompassing half of the United States. Tom McMahon headed the area and Palmer Turnheim had the other half of the United States. All had worked in the Metropolitian Department prior to starting IB.
As a newly minted Global Credit Graduate and MBA student at NYU, I was assigned to the Northeast Division run by Dave Andrews. In a few short years all of these men would go on to new careers outside of Mother Chase -- quite a period of transition. As Steve remembers, Tom had time to mentor the ATs who were usually kept busy doing spreadsheets and writing trip memos for the countless VPs.
My memory of Tom was his penchant for post 5 pm meetings that were endless. Classes at 6:30 pm at NYU were occasionally missed. The stoic Palmer saw the need to get Tom in line. He announced at one of these marathon sessions that some of us had families to get home to.
It was my first exposure to balance of work and home -- and to the results of corporate reorganizations on seasoned executives.
Rest in peace, Tom.
From Ed Moran: I hate to correct my good friend Steve Hunter, but Jack Lawrence was the head of Times Square Branch, not Whit Whitman. Whit was one of Jack's team leaders. In any case, I too remember Tom as a friend of George McAlister, who used to come by 410 [Park] quite often as they would head off to one of those many evening functions that we AT's used to lust after. Tom was a genuinely nice guy who took the time to talk to us peons, and I always looked forward to his visits. Steve is right, those branch managers had a great portfolio in those days, and my only ambition back in 1970 was to run one of those "mega" branches. Then came the reorganization of August '71 that changed everything -- and not entirely for the better.