In remembrance of Dan W. Gustafson Jr. 1927-2019
Union Bank & Trust Company’s founder and longtime leader of Minnesota’s labor movement passed away on March 21, 2019.
Dan was born June 28, 1927. He started with a humble beginning and rose up to become a gifted man with great vision. With the support of others he had a number of great accomplishments, Union Bank & Trust being one. Danny was a hard worker, following in the footsteps of his union plasterer father. He was dedicated to the labor movement, which is indicative of his many accomplishments and leadership roles; Business Manager of the Plasterers Local 265, Business Manager of the Minneapolis Building & Construction Trades Council, President of the Minnesota Building & Construction Trades Council, Secretary/Treasurer of the Minnesota AFL-CIO and ultimately rising to the highest level of Minnesota Labor, President of the Minnesota AFL-CIO.
He was an incredible visionary. In the 1970’s Dan began advocating to start Union Bank & Trust Company, it was his vision that unions should operate their own bank. Danny raised all the capital, primarily supported by 30 labor unions, but with a qualified risk warning “You may lose your ass”. Through hard work and perseverance his vision became a reality, Union Bank & Trust Company opened in March 1976. History has proved the vision and reward was greater than the risk by providing generous returns in the form of dividends and stock appreciation; both of which ultimately benefit the unions and their members.
Danny served on the Board of Union Bank & Trust Company for 42 consecutive years, 35 of those years as Chairman. He actively participated up until his passing. I think the Bank was a crown jewel for him, although he never boasted, always giving credit to the employees. We have long list of past and current grateful board members, employees and clients that are indebted to Danny. He was like the wise proud father we all looked up to. One of Danny’s endearing attributes was that he was respected by all, even by those that were on the other side of the issues, primarily because he fully understood and carefully listened to the passion of others. He always knew the content of matters well. We have all been fortunate to know Danny, he treated everyone so well.
Danny was a friend, mentor, labor leader, visionary banker and a real institution that will be dearly missed.