We honor the life and legacy of Joy Cousminer
Valentine’s Day, 1926 – Christmas Day, 2017
We are deeply saddened to have lost an esteemed colleague and dear friend this holiday season, with the passing of Joy Cousminer on December 25, 2017. The Federation and the entire CDCU community celebrate Joy’s lifelong commitment to serving others, her leadership in the credit union movement, her unmatched ability to bring people together, and Joy’s feisty spirit and zest for life.
In 1970, Joy founded and then went on to lead the pioneering Bethex Federal Credit Union in the South Bronx, one of the most economically distressed urban areas in the country, where she spent nearly five decades breaking down economic and educational barriers for those in need and improving the lives of people in the community.
Joy served for many years on the Federation’s Board of Directors and was a tireless advocate for small credit unions. She founded the We Care Network of small credit unions in New York to work cooperatively and support each other. Joy’s significant contributions have been recognized with numerous awards, including the Federation’s Annie Vamper Helping Hands Award, the National Federal Credit Union Foundation’s Herb Wegner Memorial Award for individual achievement, and induction into the Cooperative Hall of Fame.
“Joy always lived up to her name as a colleague and as a friend,” said Federation President and CEO, Cathie Mahon. “Her impact on our work and on the people whose lives she touched over so many decades was larger than life. We will miss her warmth, passion, commitment, knowledge and humor. We will especially miss all those late-night jokes at our Annual Conferences!”
Joy, who would have turned 92 in February, was known to friends and colleagues alike for her vibrant personality and infamous birthday parties, where it was not unusual to see 50 or more people from nearly every walk of life gather together in Joy’s small Manhattan apartment. Pamela Owens, Federation SVP of Organizational Development & Capacity Building, recalled a particularly lively celebration for Joy’s 90th birthday, attended by a wide and diverse circle of friends and family, including everyone from CEOs and prominent leaders within the financial services and social services world, to longtime Bethex members she had given loans to years before. “We all loved her,” said Pam. “She didn’t care about your social status, your education or your physical appearance. All that mattered to Joy was who you were as a person and that you helped others.”