Longtime Eastman Kodak treasurer remembered for his vast contributions in the region
While growing up in Honeoye, Mark Vigren recalls his dad showing up at soccer or basketball games for him and his sister, Sue, dressed in a suit — obviously coming straight from work. “He always prioritized family, while still excelling in his professional career,” recalled Mark of his father, David Vigren.
Mark recalled, too, his father was “The Rock” for family and friends. “Whenever anyone needed help or advice, my dad was the first to jump and lend a helping hand or wisdom,” Mark said.
With his family by his side, Mr. Vigren died Oct. 10. He was 76.
With family, career and community, David Vigren was driven by service. The former treasurer of Eastman Kodak Company who transitioned Eastman Savings and Loan into one of the nation’s most successful credit unions, Mr. Vigren was a trustee for Nazareth College and trustee for Rochester Downtown Development Corporation; a chairman of the Memorial Art Gallery’s development committee; director of the United Way Services Corporation and chairman of its Gifts-in-Kind program. He served on boards for Wilmot Cancer Center and Bishop Kearney High School and served on the Honeoye Central School District Board of Education.
In retirement, David Vigren founded and became first president of the Discovery Charter School for disadvantaged children.
“His drive, determination and heart sustained us,” said the Discovery Charter School’s director Joseph Saia. “He was the mind and the soul of this institution. He embraced and respected students for who they are and created a culture that caused them to become their best selves. His leadership inspired us, and his efforts will have far-reaching impact in the lives of many.”
Remembered by Nazareth College President Daan Braveman for his “integrity, clear thinking, hard work and compassion,” David Vigren was “a model for all of us,” Braveman said.
Raised in Elkhart, Indiana, Mr. Vigren married his high school sweetheart. He and his wife Carol raised two children, Mark and Suzanne. Mr. Vigren earned his undergraduate and Master of Business Administration degrees at Indiana University. He loved Indiana University basketball, Notre Dame football and living in the Finger Lakes. The Vigren family lived a number of years in Honeoye and on South Lake Road in Middlesex.
Mark said his father loved the water and passed on a joy of the lakes to his children and grandchildren. For the past 20 years, the family spent a week every summer on Canandaigua Lake water skiing, tubing, wakeboarding, kneeboarding, and spending time on the dock together, Mark said.
Mr. Vigren joined Kodak in 1964 and was appointed director of shareowner relations in 1979. He also held positions as Kodak’s general credit manager, general auditor, and president of Eastman Savings and Loan in addition to treasurer.
Retired Kodak vice-president David Metz remembers Mr. Vigren as “an executive with perceptive vision, a can-do attitude and the ability to fully engage employees” in his drive to move Eastman Savings and Loan to ESL Federal Credit Union with 20 branches, assets of more than $6 billion, 735 local employees, and 340,000 account holders. “Year after year, Rochesterians identified the credit union as their favorite financial institution,” Metz said.
Gary Van Graafeiland, Kodak’s former general counsel, noted that “what made Dave Vigren so special was his ability to master both the numbers side of things and the people side."
“That quality defined him,” Van Graafeiland said.
Bud Morten of Wertheim and Company said “there can be no greater testament to Dave Vigren’s performance than what took place when he left” the position of president of Eastman Savings and Loan and prepared for advancement to senior management. “Some 85 members of the U.S. investment community from coast to coast — many of whom competed with one another — gathered in Manhattan to honor Dave and thank him for his diligence, integrity and unfailing good humor,” Morten said.
Calling hours on Sunday, Oct. 15 were held at Falvo Funeral Home in Webster and a Funeral Mass was held Monday at St. Rita's Church in Webster. In lieu of flowers, the Vigren family would appreciate donations made to The Dave Vigren Memorial Discovery Charter School Library Fund. Please make checks payable to: Discovery Charter School and mail to 133 Hoover Drive, Rochester, NY 14615. Interment was in Webster Union Cemetery.