Prominent Ithaca banker and Cornell alumnus Charles Edward Treman Jr. ’30 passed away last Thursday at the age of 96. The man, affectionately known as Charlie to friends and associates alike, died in his home of aggravated back and hip injuries. He left behind a rich legacy of collegiate pride, banking expertise, community involvement and family dedication.
Treman was born in Ithaca on July 25, 1908 to Charles E. Treman Sr. and Mary Agnes Bott. He attended Ithaca High School, pursued higher education at Cornell University and received his B.A. at Cornell Law School. Treman was very involved in track while at Cornell, and in 1930 was captain of the indoor intercollegiate championship track team. A close friend and current chair of Tompkins Trust Co., James J. Byrnes ’63, recalls a cartoon that playfully mocked Treman’s passion for the sport. It depicted an older-looking gentleman watching a track event in a tuxedo, having just departed from a fancy dinner party. Treman never liked to skip a meet.
After law school graduation, Treman joined the ranks of his father and uncle, both former chief executive officers of Ithaca Trust Company, and entered the banking industry. Ithaca Trust aligned with Tompkins Trust Company as young Charles was climbing his way up the corporate ladder. His distinguished 45-year career included positions as corporate secretary of the bank, assistant trust officer, trust officer, vice president, president, chief executive officer and chairperson. He retired in 1978.
Treman’s career was not limited to the local bank, however. He was very well-known throughout New York State and in 1972-1973, served as chair of the Council of Administration and its executive committee for the New York Banker’s Association. In addition, he held several national posts, including membership in the American Banking Association Governing Council and chair of the trust committee on trust policy.
An Ithaca native who built his house on Highland Road, Treman was also an active citizen in the small city. His philanthropic nature resulted in many donations to local organizations and involvement in various community endeavors. Among other pursuits, he was founder and first president of the Tompkins County Foundation, president and a director of the Tompkins County United Fund and a trustee of the First Presbyterian Church.
Cornell University was another entity to which Treman dedicated himself. Byrnes remarked that his friend spoke about the school often, and had many fond memories from his days as a student. After graduation, Treman was a trustee of the University and a member of the Board of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. He liked to garden and study birds in his free time, and later donated funds to construct a path in the Cornell Plantations. In 1981, he was selected as a Cornell Presidential Councilor for life by then-President Frank Rhodes.
Despite the time Charles Treman devoted to numerous causes and groups outside the home, his loyalty always lay with his family. He was loved dearly by his wife Margaret, daughter Terese Treman Williams, son-in-law Joseph Williams, granddaughters Margot Rose and Jennifer Ross, two great-granddaughters and several nieces. With the exception of Margaret, who predeceased her husband in 2002, all noted relatives survive Treman. His death, however, marks an end to the Treman name in Tompkins County. Charles was the last living relative to bear the surname.
Those interested in paying their respects may attend a memorial service honoring the life of Charles Edward Treman Jr. on Oct. 2 at 11:00 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Ithaca. The family has planned this gathering and asks that all remembrances please be allocated to the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology or the Cornell Plantations. Former Cornell University President Frank Rhodes will speak at the event.
Archived article by Rachel Weiss