Hugh Galusha took the reins of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis on April 15, 1965, following the resignation of Frederick Deming. A Helena, Mont., native, Galusha was head of his own CPA and tax law firm (Galusha, Higgins & Galusha) for many years and was a Class B director on the Minneapolis Fed board when he was appointed president.
Emphasizing the Bank’s regional responsibility, Galusha held economic roundtables for Bank officers and staff, and representatives from the community. Dubbed the Baconian Dialogues, these two- to three-day sessions pulled together 40 to 50 people from business, other professions, labor and government to discuss the issues of the times. Planning for a new Minneapolis Fed Bank building, designed by Gunnar Birkerts and Associates, also began during his presidency.
Galusha, a western history buff and an authority on national parks and wilderness areas, died in January 1971 while on a snowmobile trip to Yellowstone National Park. He was 51. Testimonials to his intelligence, wit and understanding of the Fed’s mission appeared in many publications upon his death.
The American Banker editorial of Feb. 5, 1971, summed up one of his strengths thusly: “He never lost sight of his primary function as a central banker, and sought to accomplish much of the work he knew needed to be done, through banking … he saw a need for small country banks to achieve greater options in their structure, so as to be able to pool resources to serve the changing needs of their communities.”
In Galusha’s own words, from a speech titled “Banks, Bankers and Change” delivered in May 1969: “The changes that are taking place in the United States have to be anticipated by banks; which is another way of saying all banks have to think about what kind of a world they’ll be functioning in at some point well out in the future. Only if they can anticipate some of the possibilities in that world can they intelligently prepare their institutions to meet the demands which will be imposed upon them by the customers of that later date.”
His wit was evident in reports on Federal Open Market Committee meetings that were occasionally written in the form of a poem or limerick.
Galusha attended the University of Montana, Missoula, and Carroll College, Helena, and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania; he passed the bar exam in Montana.