William J. Wagner, longtime CEO of Chicopee Savings Bank, passed away on Christmas Day at the age of 76. Wagner had retired from Chicopee Savings’ successor, Westfield Bank, about six weeks before his death.
An online obituary did not list the cause of death, noting that Wagner died “unexpectedly and peacefully” surrounded by his wife and family. He lived in Longmeadow.
Wagner spent 58 years working in the banking industry, including 32 years as chairman and CEO of Chicopee Savings Bank, according to the obituary. Following the acquisition of Chicopee Savings by Westfield Bank in 2016, Wagner continued to work in advisory and business development roles at Westfield until his retirement on November 12. Wagner was also vice chairman of the board of directors of Westfield Bank and its parent company, Western New England Bancorp. Inc., from 2016 to 2018.
Wagner told Banker & Tradesman in 2013 that he started his banking career operating a sophisticated coin rolling machine during his senior year in high school. He became a bank teller after graduating from high school.
Two of Wagner’s fondest memories in banking were the IPO of Chicopee Savings in 2006 and the granting of loans to start-up companies.
“I’m especially proud of all of the startups I’ve created,” he told Banker & Tradesman in 2013. “It’s an exciting part of the business to have a little bit of venture capital for a loan, and for it to be successful and grow into a great business doing business with you 40 years later, it makes you feel good on the inside.
Wagner was also known for his contributions to the community.
“Most remarkable is what Bill has accomplished beyond his career,” Westfield Bank said in a statement posted on its website. “He has achieved an extraordinary record of community service and recognition awards – enthusiastically accepting leadership roles on the boards of directors of many organizations and professional associations. “
Wagner has received dozens of humanitarian awards for his community service, according to his obituary, including Banker & Tradesman’s former awards program, Community Bank Heroes, in 2013.
“I tried to give back and be a good citizen,” Wagner said in 2013. “It’s all you can do in life.”
When Chicopee Saving Bank converted to an equity bank in 2006, Wagner created the Chicopee Savings Bank Charitable Foundation.
“Bill was a mentor, friend and someone I could always turn to for sound advice and encouragement,” Westfield Bank President and CEO James Hagan said in the press release. the bank. “He has had a legendary career, was a respected icon in the community and will be sadly missed by many.”
Wagner’s family plans to hold a memorial service in the spring, according to the obituary.