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Dan Hansen
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Colleen Manley, who started her career as a teller and rose to CEO of the largest credit union headquartered in north-central Washington, died unexpectedly Monday from natural causes.

[january 11, 2022 ]

Manley worked at CDFCU for 43 years, starting in 1979. She became president and CEO in 2008, and saw the credit union triple in size before last year’s merger with Spokane-based STCU.

After the merger, STCU retained Manley as regional president, leaning heavily on her knowledge to continue meeting the needs of the communities in Okanogan, Ferry, Douglas and Lincoln counties.

STCU President and CEO Ezra Eckhardt called Manley “an exceptional mentor and champion,” and noted that she often started the workday at 5 a.m.

“It was a privilege and an honor to work closely with Colleen over the past 15 months,” Eckhardt said. “Her leadership was instrumental in guiding CDFCU through the Great Recession, a core technology conversion, the pandemic, and a full merger. She was the epitome of a selfless servant, always looking to empower employees, take care of members, and serve the greater community.

“We will all miss her amazing positive attitude, kind soul, and caring approach.”

A staunch advocate for the communities served by CDFCU, Manley was particularly concerned about the post-merger continuation of a scholarship for high school seniors. (STCU announced last year that it has been endowed, and it will continue in perpetuity.) She was involved in Rotary and other community activities.

Part of the large Babler family, Colleen grew up in Coulee Dam, and graduated from Coulee Dam High School. Early in her education, she attended the historic school that later became the CDFCU headquarters (now STCU’s Coulee Dam Branch). Later, she graduated from CUNA Management School in Madison, Wis.

“She was a hard-worker who was never above any task,” said Vanessa Marcolin, who started her CDFCU career in 1994, and was Vice President of Marketing & Education at the time of the merger.

“She loved the credit union and what it stood for, and what it meant to the community and staff,” continued Marcolin, now Senior Product Marketing Specialist at STCU. “She was an amazing mentor, coworker and supervisor. Most of all she was an amazing friend who will be missed beyond measure."

Colleen was preceded in death by her husband, John Manley, and is survived by a daughter, son-in-law, and four grandchildren.