Bank of Marin founder William P. "Bill" Murray Jr., known as the grand old man of Marin banking, died Monday at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital after a fall at his home. He was 95.
Mr. Murray was named chairman emeritus of the bank's board when he retired in 1995 after a 50-year career.
"This is the passing of a true icon who was loved and respected by many people," said Russ Colombo, the bank's current president and CEO. "He was a real gentleman, and he had a saying, 'If we do good, then everybody does better.' Whenever we question things here at the bank, we say, 'What would Bill do?' He was all about supporting the community that he loved so much."
A Marin native, Mr. Murray was a longtime resident of San Rafael. At the time of his death, he was living in Santa Rosa and at a second home in Palm Desert.
With his late brother, Don, Mr. Murray formed the original bank of Marin in San Rafael in 1962. After losing control of the bank to a group that formed Westamerica Bank in 1983, he left banking for five years.
"You make a mistake and you pay for it," he said in a 1995 IJ interview. "I was more angry than heartbroken."
He channeled that anger in a positive direction. In 1990, he joined forces with former associate J.D. Sullivan to form a resurrected Bank of Marin. Sullivan died Oct. 13.
"You're very fortunate if you have a second chance in life," he said in the same interview. "We put together just what we had before."
Under his tenure, the bank grew from assets of $41 million to $126.5 million when he stepped down.
In an interview at the time of Mr. Murray's retirement, Jim Barnett of New Horizons Savings and Loan called him "a pillar of Marin's banking community."
A scion of a Marin banking family, he was the son of William P. Murray Sr., who helped found the First National Bank of San Rafael in 1926. Born in San Rafael, Mr. Murray, the eldest of three brothers, went to Coleman School and San Rafael High.
An Eagle Scout as a boy, he went on to serve as president of the Marin Council of Boy Scouts. Growing up in San Rafael, he enjoyed movies at the Fourth Street theater that is now the Smith Rafael Film Center. In the 1990s, he was chairman of the community fundraising campaign that led to restoration of the theater.
After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, where he studied economics, he went on to Stanford Business School. The start of his banking career was postponed when he served during World War II as a Seabee in the Philippines.
After the war, his first banking job was at the Anglo-California National Bank in San Francisco.
In 1948, he married Joanne Denham, a Cal student he'd met at the Russian River. They raised four sons.
Mr. Murray was a former president of the San Rafael Rotary Club and served on the boards of many Marin organizations, including Sunny Hills, the YMCA, the Volunteer Center of Marin and the San Rafael Public Education Foundation. He was a trustee of the Marin General Hospital Foundation. He recently received the Global Citizen Award from the San Rafael-based organization Roots of Peace.
Looking back at his career, Mr. Murray told IJ reporter Beth Ashley in 1995 that he thought of himself as "a low key, average kind of guy," adding, "I learned how to work. I think anyone can do a good job if he will just learn how to work."
Mr. Murray is survived by his wife and one son, Frank, a retired Bank of Marin credit administrator who lives in San Rafael. He also leaves four grandchildren.
Plans for a memorial service are pending.
Contact Paul Liberatore via email at email@example.com