‘At his heart, he was a community banker’
In the wake of his sudden death Monday, the North Bay business community remembered David Brown as the epitome of a community banker: a man for whom personal and professional relationships frequently converged, with an underlying sense of charity that influenced all aspects of his life.
“He really took ‘community’ to heart,” said Ross Liscum, broker for Century 21 Alliance in Santa Rosa and long-time friend of Mr. Brown. “He was good at what he did businesswise. But if you were in any room and Dave started to talk, people would listen.”
A memorial service for Mr. Brown will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Santa Rosa Golf and Country Club.
Visitation is from noon to 8 p.m. today at Daniels Chapel of the Roses.
Raised in Santa Rosa and a graduate of Montgomery High School, Mr. Brown was most recently the senior vice president and manager of Bank of Marin’s Santa Rosa Commercial Banking Office.
Assuming that role in 2010 and helping to launch the bank’s office in Santa Rosa, Mr. Brown brought with him a long reputation as a Sonoma County community banker and was instrumental in helping grow the market for Bank of Marin, said Russell Colombo, president and CEO of the bank.
“We’ve had some success, and that was Dave,” Mr. Colombo said. “It’s a huge loss from the business side, for sure, but for us, it’s more the loss of a friend.”
Mr. Brown’s previous roles included service as a regional president for North Valley Bank. He was the first executive vice president and chief credit officer for First Community Bank, and spent 18 years as senior vice president in charge of construction and mortgage lending at Exchange Bank.
Supporting community causes was a focus for Mr. Brown, who would invest significant effort in finding ways to finance the construction of affordable housing, said William Schrader, president and chief executive officer of Exchange Bank.
“At his heart, he was a community banker. I think he loved being a part of efforts that made an impact,” Mr. Schrader said.
Those efforts included Mr. Brown’s service as past chairman of the Sonoma County Loan Consortium, an affiliation of regional lenders that works collaboratively to finance affordable housing projects. He has also served as board member at Burbank Housing Development Corporation.
In his various roles, Mr. Brown would also advocate for support of Schools Plus, a nonprofit that provides support for sports, arts and related activities at Santa Rosa’s public secondary schools. His wife, Roni, is a past member of the organization’s board.
“It’s a loss for Santa Rosa,” said John Bribiescas, chairman of Schools Plus. “He worked hard to make sure that future generations could have the kind of education he had.”
Mr. Brown is the father of three sons, and Mr. Bribiescas said he had “a hands-on, experiential understanding of what it takes to keep Santa Rosa a great place to raise kids.”
“At the end of the day, we’re a small community. When someone goes like this, it affects all of us,” Mr. Schrader said.
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