Fred Meyer Employees Federal Credit Union Mourning Loss of Longtime Manager Gerald Rutz

Whenever anyone asked Gerald H. “Jerry” Rutz how he was feeling, the longtime manager of Fred Meyer Employees Federal Credit Union would always respond, “My-T-Fine,” a reference to the store brand so popular with Fred Meyer shoppers throughout the Northwest.

“Yup, he was always ‘My-T-Fine,’ and so proud to say that to people,” says Leslie McGrew, the credit union’s vice president of marketing. “He was a great guy, and truly a mentor to everyone.”

Rutz, who led Fred Meyer Employees FCU from 1963 until his retirement in 1992, passed away March 8, the credit union announced this week. He was 83.

“He was old-school — he could do ANY job in the office,” says McGrew, who was hired by Rutz in 1976. “He was very reasonable. He thought highly of working moms who needed to stay home with their sick children. He was very Christian, morale and logical.  And he was also pretty funny and extremely smart.  He has four grown children — one is a store director for Fred Meyer, and one is a produce manager. A total My-T-Fine family!”

Rutz joined Fred Meyer Employees FCU after a stint as manager of Reynolds Credit Union in Gresham.  (Reynolds later became Mountain View Credit Union and, in 2005, merged into Oregonians Credit Union.) He was instrumental in the credit union’s growth, McGrew says, working with assistant manager Walk Okell and a small staff.

“They did a great job of handling everything at the office,” McGrew says, “and they knew almost everyone who came through the front door on a first-name basis.”

Mark Freels, manager of Teamsters Council #37 Federal Credit Union, says Rutz was “a pioneer of the Courtesy Pay program” who was always looking out for the best interest of his members, even when that meant allowing them to overdraw their accounts.

“Jerry honored their checks, knowing that he would receive their paycheck through payroll deduction. He was one of our great credit union leaders,” Freels says.

In the credit union’s April newsletter, McGrew remembers Rutz this way: “Jerry loved his family and friends.  He also enjoyed being outside — so much so that he started his own nursery.  His specialty at the nursery was Laceleaf Maple trees and Monkey Trees.  He loved bowling, playing cards and entertaining.  He was an incredible credit union leader, church leader, a true friend, family man and mentor to all.   Jerry was a remarkable man and will truly be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.”

Rutz is survived by his children, Barbara Feger, Gary Rutz, Terry Rutz and Rob Rutz; grandchildren Joshua, Nicole, Teresa and Emilie; and a grandson, Mathew.

Questions about this story? Contact Gary M. Stein: 503.350.2216, gstein@nwcua.org.

Posted in Federal.