Peter Kingston, director of finance and operations at Ursuline High School and husband of Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane, was found dead at his Santa Rosa home Tuesday.
Sheriff Steve Freitas said the death was an apparent suicide.
Zane had just finished an afternoon meeting of the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday and was not at home when her husband was found by a family member shortly before 5 p.m., Freitas said.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Efren Carrillo announced Kingston’s death at the annual Sonoma County State of the County breakfast at the Doubletree Hotel in Rohnert Park on Wednesday morning. He asked “everyone here to take a moment to keep Shirlee, her family and friends in their thoughts and prayers as they go through this very difficult moment.”
The Cambridge University-educated Kingston, 56, was a former businessman who was in charge of finances for Ursuline, a Catholic school for girls. The school announced in the fall that it did not have the financial resources to stay open and would close at the end of this academic year.
Sister Joanne Abrams, one of three nuns who oversee the school and its board of trustees, said staff and faculty at Ursuline were “devastated” by the news.
“My heart is broken,” Abrams said. “He was such a nice guy, warm, gentle. I just can’t believe it.”
She said Ursuline Principal Julie Carver met with counselors Wednesday morning and discussed how to relay the news to faculty and students.
“We kept assuring him that it certainly wasn’t his doing — the declining enrollment and the economy,” she said.
Ursuline relied on $1.2 million from the founding Ursuline Order just to finish the year.