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Kathleen O’Hara Geary, a native to the Washington, D.C. area, but recent transplant to Florida, passed away peacefully at home on February 17, 2023 surrounded by her family. Kathy was 62 years old.
Kathy was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1960 as the second daughter of Mary Ann and John Patrick O’Hara. Kathy and her two sisters spent most of their childhood growing up in Potomac, Maryland. As the daughters of a Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agent and chief counsel to a subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives, Kathy and her sisters grew up entrenched in the goings on in Washington.
At the age of 17, Kathy spent her senior year of high school attending the Capitol Page School where she served as a House of Representatives Page for Representative Jim Wright of Texas’s
12th district. Upon graduation, Kathy was awarded the Danforth Award, which is offered as recognition of excellence in character and demonstrated leadership. Kathy often spoke fondly of this period in her life. She would frequently reminisce about becoming acquainted with the U.S. Capitol Building as an adolescent, her appreciation and affinity for the hallowed halls of Congress and how proud she was to have earned a high school diploma that was presented to her and signed by President Jimmy Carter.
After she graduated high school, Kathy attended George Washington University, where she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting. During her senior year of college, Kathy met her future husband, Michael Geary, who at the time was an officer in the U.S. Air Force, at the officer’s club at Andrews Air Force Base. The two were married on July 31, 1982, two months after Kathy graduated college.
Upon graduation, Kathy began a career in accounting, first with the State Department Federal Credit Union and then with HEW Federal Credit Union. Kathy worked her way up within HEW FCU, first starting in 1984 as a junior accountant where she also supported the credit union with regulatory compliance, marketing, and member services, and subsequently was promoted to lead accountant in 1988. Kathy was promoted to Executive Vice President in 1992 where she oversaw several departments including Finance, Marketing and Operations for the Credit Union. Finally, Kathy was promoted to President/CEO in 1997, shattering a giant hole in the metaphorical glass ceiling and becoming the first female CEO in the organization’s history. She spent the next 21 years working tirelessly to support the organization, including overseeing the rebranding of the organization from HEW Federal Credit Union to Democracy Federal Credit Union in 2015.
In addition to her role with the credit union, Kathy held several volunteer positions, including serving as Vice Chairman on the board of directors for the Credit Union Mortgage Association (CUMA), serving on the board of the DC Chapter of the MD/DC Credit Union Association, and President of the DC Chapter and the chair of the Advocacy Committee. She also served on the board of trustees for the Credit Union Legislative Action Committee (CUNA’s Political Action Committee) and served on the Board of Directors of the Geary-O’Hara Family Foundation.
In her spare time, she enjoyed spending time on the boat at her lake house in Fredericksburg, Virginia, hosting parties at her home in Arlington, Virginia and seeing Broadway musicals at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C or Signature Theater in Arlington, Virginia. Kathy and Mike also enjoyed traveling to many countries across the world; the last international trip she took was in 2019 where she introduced her granddaughter to her extended family in Silgo, Ireland.
Upon retiring from Democracy Federal Credit Union in 2018, Kathy and Mike relocated to Florida, where Kathy spent her time sunbathing by the pool, listening to her beloved Broadway showtunes, excelling in her newfound love for gardening and tending to her many fruit-bearing trees. Known affectionately as Mimi, Kathy delighted in spending time with her grandchildren and spoiled them rotten whenever she got the chance.
Kathy is preceded in death by her parents, Mary Ann and John O’Hara and her sister, Ann O’Hara Carroll. She is survived by her husband of 40 years, Michael; her daughter, Caitlin Jones and son-in-law, Blake Jones of Falls Church; her two grandchildren, Ryann and Brooks Jones; and her sister, Dr. Maureen Padden of Pensacola, Florida.
The family will receive friends and relatives for a celebration of life on March 1 from 2 to 6 pm at the Cunningham Turch Funeral Home located at 811 Cameron Street in Alexandria, Virginia. Memorial contributions can be made to the National MS Society.
I met and worked with Kathy through the MDDCCUA and DC Chapter and she brought so much value to both and truly
wanted to provide education and fun to the Chapter. We spent a lot of time outside of the meetings discussing ideas for the DC credit unions and always enjoyed those conversations since, of course, we talked about a lot of other things, too. Insisted that I should be the Secretary and Treasurer but her staff would write the minutes so that I would not have to do them. That was Kathy! Never wanted to say no and wanted to help the Chapter and Kathy, as Chair. Enjoyed those times with her and I am sure the rest of the Board members felt the same. We did have some great laughs and fun always but believe we came up with good agendas for our credit unions. Will miss her so much but glad I have some great memories as many of you do, too! She made her mark in the cu movement in many ways and so glad I knew and worked with her. I remember some of the very kind things she said about everyone in these organizations giving them credit for what they did to help and make them great organizations to be involved in. Wish I could have just have talked and laughed with her one more time, but I just hope she knew what her friendship meant to me and I know to many others. I tried to express that over the years to her so can only hope she knew but she would have denied that she did not do anything. That was Kathy!
Working with Kathy was a gift in my life. Her brilliance, insight, and wonderful sense of humor lit up the room. The transition to retirement was wonderful timing that helped her relax with her family — it was delightful to see joyful Facebook photos of her with her wonderful grandchildren. Kathy will always hold a special place in my heart.
i work with kathy from day one.some thought her mean but that was a show,,she was always fair and would listen to you.we were great freinds thought bad times, births and good times too and retirement, she was a great boss,very loving and caring person.i will miss her greatly.
i worked with kathy from day one..some thought her mean but she was fair and would listen to you.we were great friends even after retirement she was great boss and funny too, very loving caring person..i will miss her greatly.
Dear Mike, Caitlin, Blake, Ryann, and Blake-
We know that nothing can fill the void left in your lives with the loss of your life partner, mother, and Mimi.
We also know that she made your lives so rich and happy, filled with joy, comfort, and contentment.
That will never leave you.
Thinking of all of you at this sad time and wishing you moments of peace and serenity.
Jane and Mark