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Joe Robles, former USAA CEO and two-star general, dies at 78

Joe Robles, seen speaking in courtesy photo from USAA
Courtesy photo
Joe Robles

Former CEO of USAA, Josue "Joe" Robles Jr. died Thursday after a long illness.

The announcement by USAA did not provide a cause of death. Robles had been diagnosed with Parkinson's five years ago.

Robles led the San Antonio-based financial services company from 2007 to 2015, including through its largest period of growth.

USAA president and CEO Wayne Peacock said Robles approached life as a solider would.

"Joe’s visionary leadership and commitment to serving others had a tremendous impact on our country, our teammates at USAA and our members, Peacock said in a statement to TPR.

"He was a Soldier at his core. With nearly three decades of service to the Army, Joe knew what it meant to serve, and he brought that experience to USAA," he added.

Peacock said Robles' tenure at the helm of the company, with a national headquarters in the Medical Center, was historic.

"As CEO, he led the association through the largest period of growth in our history and fostered a culture of innovation to better serve the military community and their families," he said. "His legacy continues through the service we provide every day. Our thoughts and prayers are with Patty and their children during this difficult time."

According to the Horatio Alger Assocation, which honored him with its award in 2011, Robles was the eldest of nine children. He was born to in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, in 1946.

The association's bio on Robles said he completed his basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. While there, his high test scores earned him a recommendation for Officer Candidate School.

He was sent to Korea and then Vietnam.

When Robles returned to the United States, the Army sent him to Kent State University, where he earned his degree in accounting. Robles also earned an MBA from Indiana State University.

He served in many command and staff positions, including active-duty posts in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Robles also served as director of the Army budget and as commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division, the legendary "Big Red One."

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