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Friday, May 2, 2003

Diebold's Wes Vance Was Longtime Pilot, Natural Leader

By Paul Logan
Journal Staff Writer
    Wes Vance was voted Del Norte High School's "Senior Class Favorite Boy" by the more than 600 students he graduated with in 1975.
    Vance went on to become a successful and popular chief operating officer at Diebold Inc. in Ohio. He died Saturday in a private plane crash southeast of Columbus. Vance, of the Canton area, was 45.
    The State Highway Patrol said Vance was practicing takeoffs and landings during a recertification test when the six-seat Beechcraft A-36 crashed in woods near Jackson, about 70 miles from Columbus, according to The Canton Repository newspaper.
    The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash. Vance had been a pilot for more than 20 years.
    Vance was a qualified and skilled person who had a lot of drive and the highest integrity, said Tina Swanson of Diebold, a longtime manufacturer of security products and the largest U.S. maker of automatic teller machines.
    "He worked very well with associates a real people person," Swanson said. "He always took the time to stop and say hello to folks ...
    "He's just the kind of person you like to be around. He had a confidence. Not arrogant. A confidence that was justified."
    Wesley B. Vance was also a leader at Del Norte, recalled David Steffensen of Albuquerque, a longtime friend.
    "People wanted to be around him," Steffensen said. "He was a natural leader. He chose to do good things. That's what made him special."
    Vance, an Eagle Scout, was chosen to attend Boys State. The 6-foot, 180-pound athlete also played three years on the Knights' baseball team and was the team's catcher.
    Steffensen, Vance's roommate for one semester at Brigham Young University, said his friend was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints. He served a two-year mission between his freshman and sophomore years in Mexico City.
    According to Steffensen, Vance's mother, JoAnn Vance of Albuquerque, said that his five siblings believed he was prepared for death because he was such a good father and a church-going person.
    He and his wife, Melinda, were married for more than 20 years with five children Brandon, Claire, Samantha, Alyssa and Britteny.
    Vance earned an accounting degree at BYU and a masters in business administration at Indiana University.
    He joined Diebold in October 2000 as president of Diebold's North America business unit. He was named to the corpor-ation's No. 2 position as COO in 2001, managing the company's global operations.
    Vance was previously president of ArvinMeritor Exhaust Systems Group and held various financial positions with Deloitte Haskins and Sells and Coopers & Lybrand.
    Diebold spokesman Mike Jacobsen said Vance will be greatly missed.
    "He was just real intelligent and took a very intellectual approach to the job," Jacobsen said. "A real people focus ... very organized and very open and honest."
    Other survivors include his father, Lane Vance of Ash Flat, Ark.; sisters, Shannon Dunn of North Salt Lake, Utah, and Kirsten Bonnemort of Salt Lake City; and brothers, Lane Gary Vance of Sandy, Utah, Seth Vance of London, England, and Blake Vance of Sachse, Texas.
    An LDS funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. today at 735 Easthill St. SE, North Canton.
    Contributions may be made to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Canton, 320 Third St. NW, Canton, Ohio 44702.