ICBA is mourning the passing of former ICBA President and CEO Ken Guenther, who died Wednesday. Guenther’s fierce passion for community banking has served as an inspiration for many in the industry.

Guenther had a long and successful career leading up to and including his time at ICBA. Previously a Commerce Department economist, U.S. Army Reserve servicemember, Foreign Service officer in Chile, Senate staffer, acting deputy special trade representative during the Ford administration, and Federal Reserve Board adviser, Guenther joined ICBA in 1979 and rose to the position of chief executive in 1982, where he served until 2004.

As chief executive, Guenther led ICBA through a period of growth and diversification and helped secure numerous advocacy campaigns. He also led the association during the formation of the ICBA Services Network to leverage the combined economic power of ICBA members and help them thrive in a rapidly changing banking marketplace.

After departing ICBA, Guenther established a private consulting practice, where he continued to remain active in financial services policy before retiring in 2012. He served on corporate and nonprofit boards, remained active with the Association of Retired Diplomatic and Consular Officers and Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, and earned American Banker’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004.

Guenther’s survivors include his beloved wife, Lilly; daughter, Christine; and grandchildren. ICBA expresses its deepest condolences to Guenther’s family and gratitude for his tireless service on behalf of the nation’s community banks.