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News & Updates

Remembering our Friend and Board Member, Vance Bateman

March 30, 2022

It is with great sadness that Gulf Winds shares the news that our friend and board member, Vance Shelton Bateman, passed away on March 27, 2022, with his family by his side. 

Vance Bateman was born and raised in the small community of Bristol, Florida. He was a star basketball player and even had a scholarship to Florida State University, but he followed his heart and married his high school sweetheart right after graduation. The newlyweds moved to Pensacola in 1954 and Vance started working for the Chemstrand Corporation, where he worked for 39 years. For most of his career at the plant, Vance oversaw the transportation department and made sure all the equipment — anything with wheels or engines — was running properly. As an eager learner, Vance also took college courses at night. However, the best part about working for Chemstrand, said Vance, was working with the credit union.

Vance became a member of the Chemstrand Credit Union in 1956. And although he didn’t know it at the time, the credit union would become a large aspect of his life. He saw how the credit union was helping people and wanted to be a part of it. In 1965, Vance joined the credit union supervisory committee. That next year, he ran for a board seat and won. Eventually Vance became chairman of the board. He held the position for 23 years until the board hired a CEO to help the credit union transition into a larger financial institution that served the public and not just employees of the plant.

Vance’s dedication to the credit union philosophy, people helping people, goes beyond Gulf Winds. He was at one time president of the board for Central Credit Union of Florida. And he’s been recognized for his service by the Florida League of Credit Unions as a Volunteer of the Year.

Living by the golden rule his father instilled in him — treat everybody the way you’d want to be treated — Vance made lifelong friends on the board. In fact, he would say they’re more like siblings.

“We’ve worked together for the members with the same goal in mind — to help others,” he said.

You can read Vance's obituary and pay tribute to Vance here