Remembering Terry Belcoe, Former Association Board Member, Longtime CU Advocate & Fixture of Skagit, WA

For many, advocacy starts by thinking of the end goal: lobbying Senators to change a law. Persuading the White House or Federal agency for an appointment or updated regulation. Running for office. In these scenarios—impactful in their own right—change happens at the top.

For Terry Belcoe, advocacy began at home, in Skagit County.

Belcoe was President and CEO of North Coast Credit Union until recently, when he died following a long battle with cancer. He leaves behind a tangible legacy of community impact and service that started after he earned multiple degrees from local colleges.

After earning his Associate’s degree from Whatcom Community College, a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (1979) and Accounting (1984), and his MBA (1992), Belcoe landed positions in finance, accounting and information technologies sectors, before spending more than two decades in the Credit Union Movement. And he is being remembered as a tireless leader and advocate.

“Terry was always willing to do whatever needed to be done to accomplish the job. Anytime there was a call for folks to do something, Terry’s would be the first email that I received,” added Debie Keesee, President/CEO of Spokane Media Federal Credit Union and NWCUA Board Member.

“As recently as a couple of months ago I sent out a call for nominations for the Foundation Board. The first email I got was from Terry letting me know he was willing to serve if I needed him to do so. He was a devout credit union champion and advocate,” she said.

Belcoe was a past two-term Board Chair of the United Way of Whatcom; past Board Chair for Skagit County Community Action Agency; past Board Chair and Treasurer of the United Way of Skagit County; Chair of the Oversight Committee for the Leadership Skagit program; past Board Member, Economic Development Association of Skagit County; past Board Member, Junior Achievement; past Member, Advisory Committee and Chair, Oversight Committee, Leadership Skagit; past Board Member, Skagit County Population Health Trust; and member of the Advisory Councils for the Western Washington MBA program, Northwest Career and Technical Academy, and Latino Business Retention and Expansion programs.

“He was my friend, my mentor and a champion for good,” said Debra Lancaster, Executive Director of United Way of Skagit County. “Terry, Bill Henkel (Director of Community Action of Skagit County) and I were like the Three Musketeers—thinking great thoughts and planning action to improve lives in Skagit County. His loss is heartbreaking for me.”

“Under Terry’s leadership North Coast Credit Union has grown and thrived.  Terry created a warm family atmosphere for our staff and members,” added Marilyn Brink, North Coast Executive Vice President and COO. “He led by example, was a great listener and took practical action to insure the strength and success of NCCU. Terry never forgot he worked for our members. We are all deeply saddened by his loss and we will miss him greatly.”

Among the myriad community leadership roles Belcoe took on, all were wrapped around being a passionate advocate for serving others—and to cultivate individual talents toward that service.

“Every one of us has, within us, the capacity to do something amazing,” Belcoe was once quoted as saying. “Something that can change the lives of others for the better.”

Questions about this story? Contact Eric Horvath: 503.350.2222,

Posted in Advocacy News, NWCUA.