Richard F. Schaub, who served in the cabinets of Governors William Cahill and Brendan Byrne, died on May 12 after complications from surgery. He was 88.
Schaub served as New Jersey Commissioner of Banking from 1972 to 1976 and was credited as one of the first proponents of retail banking.
After becoming governor in 1970, Cahill split the Department of Banking and Insurance into two separate cabinet posts. James C. Brady, Jr., his pick to head the banking department, named Schaub as the deputy commissioner in charge of administration.
Prior to joining state government, Schaub had served as vice president of the First National Bank of Central Jersey, and as vice president of the Franklin Commercial Corporation and the Franklin Armored Corporation.
Following Brady’s resignation in March 1972, Cahill named the 40-year-old Schaub as the acting Commissioner of Banking.
Nearly one year later, as he was seeking re-election to a second term, Cahill nominate Schaub to serve as commissioner. The State Senate confirmed him the same day by a 30-0 vote.
After Cahill lost the June Republican primary, it looked like Schaub’s tenure in the cabinet might be short lived. Byrne won the general election in a landslide and the front runner for banking commissioner was former State Sen. Richard J. Coffee (D-Lawrence), the Mercer County Democratic chairman who had briefly sough the gubernatorial nomination before dropping out to support Byrne.
Coffee was not ready to assume a cabinet post at the start of Byrne’s administration, so the governor-elect asked Schaub, a Republican, to stay on.
Schaub became a Byrne ally, joining the Democratic governor in blaming the state’s housing crisis on high interest rates by the administrations of Republican presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford. He also opposed bids to freeze the expansion of bank branches.
He resigned as commissioner in May 1976 to become president of the Hunterdon County National Bank. He became chairman of the New Jersey Bankers Association in 1983. He later joined the Resolution Trust Corporation, a federal agency formed in the 1990s in the aftermath of the savings and loan crisis.
On his way out, Schaub opposed Byrne’s announced plan to merge the banking and insurance departments. Byrne wound up naming Virginia Long, the state Consumer Affairs director and later a New Jersey Supreme Court Justice, to the post. Banking and Insurance remained separate until Gov. Christine Todd Whitman combined the two departments in 1996.
Schaub served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. He was an all-county football layer at Somerville High School and was an honorable mention for all-state tackle. He was a Rutgers University graduate.
He was a longtime trustee of the Somerset Medical Center and served on the boards of the Hunterdon Medical Center and the New Jersey Hospital Association.
Schaub is survived by his three sons, six grandsons, two great-granddaughters, and his former wife, Charel.
A private graveside service will be held and a memorial service is planned after state restrictions on large gatherings are lifted.