Chauncey J. Medberry III; Former B of A Chairman


Chauncey J. Medberry III, former chairman of the Bank of America board and prominent community leader, has died. He was 80.

Medberry, who worked 44 years for the bank during its greatest expansion period, died Tuesday in Los Angeles, officials said Wednesday.

“He leaves behind a tremendous legacy in BankAmerica,” said A.W. Clausen, the bank’s retired chairman, president and chief executive officer.


Medberry began his career in 1937 as a teller in Beverly Hills, worked in corporate finance, trust and loan posts, and was named chairman of the bank and its parent company, BankAmerica Corp., in 1971.

Later that year, with the bank a key lender to Lockheed Aircraft, he testified before Congress to help secure a $250-million loan guarantee for the troubled aerospace contractor.

“In the absence of such a guarantee, it is highly improbable that any other source of relief for Lockheed’s financial difficulties would be found,” he testified. “Nor could any other source be equally effective.”

A year later, Medberry presided over the massive move of bank offices to the new Bank of America-Arco Plaza in downtown Los Angeles. He retired in 1981.

Elsewhere in business, Medberry was a director of Getty Oil Co. at the time of its merger with Texaco, and sat on the boards of Georgia-Pacific and the engineering firm Daniel Mann Johnson & Mendenhall.

As a civic leader, Medberry served as a senior trustee at Caltech, an overseer of the Huntington Library, and trustee of Good Samaritan Hospital and foundations set up to honor John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes, Fletcher Jones and BankAmerica. He was also an honorary trustee of the Committee for Economic Development.

Medberry sat on the boards of the Assn. of Reserve City Bankers, the Independent Colleges of Southern California and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Assn., and was a member of the Business Advisory Commission for the 1984 Olympics.

He was vice president of the National Advisory Board of the Salvation Army and--proud of earning his own rank of Eagle Scout--served on the advisory council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Born in Los Angeles, Medberry was educated at Los Angeles High School, UCLA, the University of Munich and Loyola Law School. When he retired, a teaching chair was created in his name at the UCLA Graduate School of Management, where he was a member of the Board of Visitors.

During World War II, Medberry participated in the Normandy invasion and later served in the western Pacific as a Navy lieutenant.

He is survived by his wife of 39 years, the former Thirza Cole Young, sons Chauncey Medberry IV and Ralph Young, daughters Julie Pendergast and Deborah Knight, five grandchildren and one nephew.

A memorial service is scheduled Monday at 10 a.m. at All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills.

The family has asked that any memorial contributions be made to Good Samaritan Hospital, 1255 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90017, or to the Webb Schools, 1175 Baseline Road, Claremont, CA 91711.