Santa Rosa banker Dave Brown dies at 53

Sonoma County banking circles were shocked Tuesday by word of the unexpected death of Dave Brown, an admired and seasoned commercial-banking executive who worked for several local banks before joining Bank of Marin late in 2010.

Brown, 53, lay lifeless on the porch of his Santa Rosa home when his wife, Roni, arrived home shortly before 7 p.m. Monday. The couple's new dog, Ben, watched over him.

An autopsy will seek to determine the cause of the longtime Santa Rosa resident's death. Friends said Brown, an avid golfer, had seemed perfectly healthy except for mild symptoms of a cold.

"It's so shocking it's nearly impossible to say anything," said friend and colleague Debbie Meekins, president and chief executive of Santa Rosa-based First Community Bank.

"He was so young and so bright," Meekins said. "He was very successful in his career, very highly regarded in the banking community. The thought of it is almost unbearable."

Brown got his start in banking three decades ago with Bank of America in Sacramento. He worked for First Community Bank, North Valley Bank, Umpqua Bank and First National Bank of Nevada.

He was with Sonoma County's Exchange Bank for more than 17 years and was a senior vice president and real-estate loan administrator when he moved on in 2004.

"He played a significant role in our success during his tenure here," said Bill Reinking, chairman of Exchange Bank. "He was a good banker. We were good friends."

Brown was hired by Novato-based Bank of Marin in October 2010 and the following summer introduced the bank to Santa Rosa with the opening of a branch on Santa Rosa Avenue.

Russell Colombo, the Bank of Marin president and chief executive, said Brown's personal and business connections in Sonoma County and his decades in local banking were invaluable.

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