Charles E. Bancroft passed from this world on February 4, 2020.
It was never Charles. For 94+ glorious years it was “Charlie”, and “Charlie” better emphasizes the shining smile filled personality that fully illustrated his pure joy of life, his friendship, loyalty and devotion to family, huge circle of business associates, and friends. His philosophy of life was simple. Commit 100% of your effort, time, and ability every day to be the best you can be. This held true in business, charitable activities, or just being with friends. Every person Charlie met and associated with during his long life agreed that knowing Charlie made him or her a better person and the world around them a better place. Many associates claimed he was like a father to them.
Some legacies are represented by monuments, buildings or statues. Charlie’s legacy lives on in the hearts of all the people he touched. Simply, if you knew Charlie you were a better person for it. Charlie brought good will, good sense, good advice, camaraderie, and his incredible sense of humor everywhere he went. He led by example. He was a collaborator, mentor, teacher, and always a true and loyal friend in good times and bad. And of course there were always the black horn rim glasses and the saddle shoes that went with all his clothing.
Charlie was born May 31, 1925 in Mansfield Ohio to Charles DeForest Bancroft and Kathryne Louise Bancroft. He graduated from Mansfield High School in 1943. He immediately enlisted in the United States Army and served with valor in the Pacific Theater earning both the American and Asiatic Theater Ribbon and a Bronze Star. He was honorably discharged in February 1946. He then attended Miami of Ohio University where he was a member of the Delta Tau Delta Fraternity.
He began his lifelong career in the insurance industry with Lumbermans Mutual of Mansfield, OH. Over the years his prestige and stature rose. He was asked to open a branch office of Lumbermans in San Francisco which brought him to California in the mid fifties. He returned to the Midwest in 1963 when he accepted a VP position with Kemper Insurance in Chicago. In 1966 he became Executive VP of California Mutual Insurance Co. out of Ventura CA. In 1967 he was promoted to president and CEO. In 1972 he relocated the headquarters of California Mutual to Monterey CA. He did that so he could entertain agents on the most beautiful golf courses in the world. He remained president and CEO until 1986. Between 1986 and 1995 Charlie used his knowledge and reputation to help start other Insurance companies. Then, in 1995 he helped buy Sequoia Insurance Co. and ran it as President and CEO until 2003.
Charlie’s business philosophy was as effective and successful as it was simple. Create a good product, hire the most capable people, treat them well, let them do their jobs, and always remember to provide excellent customer service. Do that and the bottom line will always take care of itself.
Charlie was a member of many business and professional associations in the insurance Industry – way to many to be listed.
Over the years Charlie also contributed too many civic, charitable and religious activities with the same enthusiasm and fervor as he applied to his business life. Again the list is way too long but among all the groups he devoted time and energy to some of his favorites were: Founder and Chairman of the annual Hospice Ball; Director and Founding Chairman of the First National Bank of Monterey County; Director of the Delta Tau Delta Education Foundation; President of the Monterey Bay area council of the Boy Scouts of America. He also served on the Board of Trustees of The Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey SPCA, United Way of Monterey, Monterey Peninsula Country Club, and The City of Hope.
Charlie is preceded in death by both his parents and his sister Pat. He is survived by his two daughters Katy Stauffer and Amy Wade whom he had with his first wife Judy Maize Bancroft and six grand children: Christopher and Samantha Stauffer, Oliver, Phoebe, Abigail, and Louise Wade and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Charlie absolutely did not want a funeral. A celebration of Charlie’s life will be determined at a later date – a hell of a party with good food, good friends, and good scotch.
In lieu of flowers please make a donation to Charlie’s favorite charity: The SPCA of Monterey County.
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