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Posted on Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

University Bank's chairman Charles McDowell dies at 75; director appointed as new chair

By Lizzy Alfs

Charles McDowell, the chairman of Ann Arbor-based University Bank and University Bancorp, Inc., died this week at the age of 75, the bank announced Thursday.

McDowell also was the chairman of the University Bank’s internal audit committee and a member of the bank’s compensation committee.

“Chuck McDowell was an excellent and gracious man who started his career in banking as a [Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation] examiner,” said Stephen Lange Ranzini, bank president, in a statement.

“Ethical, level headed, intelligent, available on a moment’s notice, he was an exemplary chairman of the board and will be missed by all,” Ranzini continued.

McDowell’s other professional accomplishments include being CEO of a community bank in northern Michigan, president of the Community Bankers of Michigan and a member of the management team that ran the Northern Michigan Business & Industrial Development Company, according to a news release.

McDowell is survived by his wife, Kay McDowell, daughters, Theresa Thomas and Mary Schlax, and seven grandchildren. His daughter, Barbara Nelson, predeceased him.

Memorial services are scheduled for June 23 in his hometown of Elk Rapids, Mich.

University bank director Alma Wheeler Smith was elected as new chair and director of University Bancorp, Inc. by the bank’s board. Director Willie Powell will fill the newly created position of vice chair.

The bank has also appointed a director search committee to nominate three new directors of the bank: former Congressman Joe Schwartz, bank president Ranzini and director of the bank holding company Michael Talley.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at