Cecil H. Whaley, Jr. – March 19, 2020
Cecil Whaley, Assistant Director and Earthquake Program Manager of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), passed away March 19, 2020. Being involved with CUSEC and the earthquake program for more than 30 years, Cecil was one of CUSEC’s and NEHRP’s biggest champions.
During his career, Cecil was called into action to support emergency response and recovery efforts for numerous catastrophic disasters including Hurricane Andrew, the Northridge Earthquake, and Hurricane Katrina, to name a few. With a true passion for helping others, he was a mentor and friend to countless individuals. In 2017, Cecil provided the National Emergency Management Agency with a glimpse into his career and other aspects of his life.
According to CUSEC Executive Director Jim Wilkinson, “Cecil was a true visionary who valued partnerships above all else. His impact on emergency management and NEHRP will extend for many years and he will be dearly missed.”
CUSEC, including our Board of Directors and staff, extend our sincere condolences to Cecil’s family and friends, as well as his numerous colleagues across the nation. An obituary for Cecil Whaley can be viewed here.
Richard “RD” Ross – April 26, 2019
One of CUSEC’s founding Board Members, Richard “RD” Ross, passed away on April 26, 2019 in Columbia, Missouri. Mr. Ross served 23 years in the United States Marine Corps before retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1978. Ross received numerous military commendations including the Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal with Combat V for Valor, and the RVN Armed Forces Medal.
Mr. Ross was appointed Director of Missouri State Emergency Management by Missouri Governor John Ashcroft (1985-1993), who later served as the United States Attorney General under President George W. Bush. According to Jim Wilkinson, CUSEC Executive Director–“RD was one of the most memorable people you could ever meet. I had the pleasure of working with him during my early years at CUSEC and RD was always very open and supportive of new ideas on how CUSEC could advance the earthquake preparedness message. As one of the founding directors of CUSEC, RD was 110% on board with our mission. His laughter and often corny jokes will be dearly missed by all.”
CUSEC offers our deepest sympathies to the Ross family. Services to celebrate Mr. Ross’s life will take place at 10 a.m. Oct. 26, 2019 at First Presbyterian Church, 16 Hitt St in Columbia, MO. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Rotary International Polio Plus, Alzheimers Association or First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, MO.
Ron Reynolds – May 18, 2018
Former CUSEC Board Member and Missouri State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) Director, Ronald M. Reynolds passed away on May 18, 2018. Mr. Reynolds served 22 years in the United States Army before retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. He was a gubernatorial appointment for Missouri SEMA and later went on to work for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in their Region VII office.
During his time at SEMA (2005-2009), Mr. Reynolds was an advocate for earthquake risk reduction and an active member of the CUSEC Board of Directors. He championed several regional efforts and played a major role during the New Madrid Seismic Zone Catastrophic Planning Initiative.
CUSEC offers our deepest condolences to the Reynolds family. Memorials may be made to either the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Missouri Chapter or the Kidney Foundation.
Harvey G. Ryland – July 7, 2013
It is with a sad heart that we announce the passing of Harvey G. Ryland, the second Executive Director of CUSEC. Mr. Ryland served as Director of CUSEC from 1989 to 1993, and was the first Executive Director following the relocation of CUSEC headquarters from from Marion, IL to Memphis Tennessee.
In 1993, Mr. Ryland left CUSEC to serve with FEMA Director James Lee Witt (former CUSEC Board Chairman) as Senior Policy Advisor, and later as Deputy Director of FEMA. It was their personal and professional friendship that developed during their years together at CUSEC that strengthened in their years at FEMA and beyond. Under Harvey’s leadership, CUSEC made great strides in moving earthquake response, preparedness, and risk reduction efforts forward within the central U.S.
Harvey will be greatly missed as a friend and colleague of the large family known as CUSEC. Memorials may be made to Life Path Hospice, 12973 N. Telecom Parkway, Suite 100, Temple Terrace, FL 33637, and Hyde Park United Methodist Church, 500 W. Platt St, Tampa, FL, 33606.
W.R. “Bud” Harper – March 28, 2012
Former CUSEC Board Chairman, W.R. “Bud” Harper, 81, passed away at home in Fort Smith on Wednesday, March 28, 2012. He was born Jan. 6, 1931, in Fort Smith to William Raymond Harper and Helen Olive Jones Harper. Harper is survived by his wife, Jo Harper, and a son, daughter, and grandchildren. Mr. Harper was a dedicated community servant, and member of many civic, volunteer, and professional organizations and associations.
After serving two terms on the Sebastian County Quorum Court, Harper was elected Sebastian County Judge in 1983. He served in this capacity for 16 years until he was appointed to Gov. Mike Huckabee’s Cabinet as director of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management and served from 1997-2003. During this time, he was also responsible for overseeing Homeland Security in Arkansas.
CUSEC offers our deepest condolences to the Harper family. Memorials may be sent to St. Luke Lutheran Church, 5401 Free Ferry Road, Fort Smith, AR 72903, or to Arkansas Tech University, 1509 Boulder Ave., Room 210, Russellville, AR 72801.
John White, Jr. – August 10, 2011
CUSEC is saddened by the sudden loss of one our former Board Members, John White, Jr.. He served as the Director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) from 1994 until he retired in 2003. While Director of TEMA, Mr. White played an active role on the CUSEC Board of Directors, and held position of Chairman several times.
The entire CUSEC Board of Directors and staff offer our deepest sympathies to the White family.
J.E. Maher – April 12, 2010
CUSEC is saddened to report the loss of one of our founding Board Members, J.E. “Jim” Maher. Maher passed away on April 12, 2010. Director Maher was a previous director of Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). He led MEMA for nearly twenty years as director, holding the post through the administrations of five governors. Maher was the inspiration for the J.E. Maher Award, an award given to individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in the field of emergency management.
Maher was a decorated veteran, seeing combat in Korea and Vietnam. He retired from the Marine Corps as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1971. During his years at MEMA, Maher sat on numerous boards and associations including the National Emergency Management Association (President), Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium (Chairman), and the Advisory Council for the National Institute of Urban Search and Rescue (Chairman).
The entire CUSEC Board of Directors and staff offer our deepest sympathies to the Maher family.
Norman C. Hester – December 7, 2009
Dr. Norman C. Hester, 76, of Bloomington, Indiana passed away on Monday December 7, 2009. Dr. Hester served for several years as the Technical Director of the Association of CUSEC State Geologists. He was one of the original founders of the Association and recognized early on the need for a collaborative effort among the CUSEC Member State Geological Surveys. As Technical Director, Dr. Hester was the face of the Association, working to advise and bring together the States to address common issues and cross boundary problems presented by the earthquake hazard.
Dr. Hester also had a great sense of the importance of bringing together the science and emergency management communities. In as much, his work over the years with the State Geologists earned him an Ex-Officio position on the CUSEC Board of Directors. Dr. Hester served as a colleague, mentor, and friend to many people over the years.
His leadership, generosity, and sense of humor will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him. The entire CUSEC Board of Directors and staff offer our deepest sympathies to the Hester family.
Jerry Thompson – November 9, 2007
Jerry Thompson, 61, of Lamar, Indiana, passed away on Friday November 9, 2007. Jerry served more than 40 years with the Indiana Department of Transportation and was the driving force behind the formation of the CUSEC Transportation Task Force. He held the chairman’s position of the group from 2000 until mid 2007.
The Task Force is one of three associations which function under the CUSEC umbrella and it serves two purposes: to help facilitate closer interaction between state departments of transportation on issues related to emergency preparedness and to provide a central point for collaboration with other organizations on transportation issues related to both man-made and natural disasters having a regional impact.
CUSEC offers our sympathy and condolences to the Thompson family.
Lacy Suiter – August 8, 2006
Founding CUSEC Board Member and former Chairman of the Board of Directors Mr. Lacy E. Suiter, 69, of Nashville, Tennessee, died August 8, 2006. One of the nation’s most experienced and respected emergency management and homeland security officials, Mr. Suiter is former director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and executive with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Mr. Suiter’s career spanned 40 years during which time he led several federal and state emergency management and homeland security orgzations. Mr. Suiter was a pioneer in the evolution of emergency management and played a significant role in developing it into a professional discipline. At the time of his death, he was currently serving as director of executive education programs for the Naval Post Graduate School’s (NPS) Center for Homeland Defense and Security in Monterey, California.
Mr. Suiter was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1996 to serve as the Executive Associate Director for Response and Recovery at FEMA. He was retained by President George W. Bush and served FEMA until his retirement from the federal government in late 2001. During his FEMA service, Mr. Suiter was responsible for planning and executing the federal government’s response and recovery operations to hundreds of natural disasters and acts of terrorism.
The entire CUSEC Board of Directors and staff offer our deepest sympathies to the Suiter family.
William R. “Ronn” Padgett – April 2, 2004
Former CUSEC Board of Directors member William R. “Ronn” Padgett, 57, of Lexington, husband of Muriel Amos “Mickey” Padgett passed away Fri., April 2, 2004. Ronn was born Fri., July 26, 1946, the son of William Fisher and Isabel Lanham Padgett of Perryville, Ky. He retired in 2002 as the Director of the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management. He was a graduate of Centre College and held a masters degree in public administration. He was commissioned in the U.S. Navy in 1969 and retired as a Lt. Col. in the National Guard.
He was a member of several professional organizations including KEMA, NEMA, CUSEC and the KYNGA. The entire CUSEC Board of Directors and staff offer our deepest sympathies to the Padgett family.