In Loving Memory|
Dec 4, 1918 - Dec 16, 2013
William P. "Bill" Murray Jr., loving husband, father, gentleman, philanthropist, and respected community banker passed on December 16, 2013 at age 95 in Santa Rosa after a brief illness. Born on December 4, 1918 in San Rafael, California to William P. and Lillian Murray, Bill was the oldest of three boys, including brothers Donald and Ted Murray. Bill was a 3rd generation Marinite, with Marin roots dating back to 1869, when his grandfather, Adam Murray, moved to San Rafael from Canada. Adam owned a lumberyard in San Rafael and built the beautiful Boyd Gate House in the 1870's.
Bill grew up next to the historic Thomas Boyd house on Lincoln Ave in San Rafael. He enjoyed playing cowboys in the surrounding hills and roller hockey on Lincoln Ave, which at the time was Highway 101! A favorite pastime was gathering red berries in the hills, making Christmas wreaths, and selling them for twenty-five cents. Bill's other favorite outing was attending the Saturday shows at the Rafael Theatre. Bill's father, William P. Murray, was a well-respected community banker, heading Bank of San Rafael and First National Bank of San Rafael. His mother, Lillian Quandt, was from a well-known San Francisco family, who owned a large painting company, A. Quandt & Son.
Bill attended Coleman School and San Rafael High School (class of 1936). He was very active in the Boy Scouts, earning Eagle Scout distinction. He was a member of troop 10, sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church of San Rafael. Bill graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1940, where he earned a degree in Economics. He greatly enjoyed the friendships he made there as a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity. One of his fraternity brothers was his lifelong friend Max Thelan of San Rafael, who served as a director of the first Bank of Marin. In 1942, Bill graduated from Stanford Business School and then served in the U.S. Navy during World War II as a Seabee in the Philippines. Upon his return he met Joanne Denham at Villa Grande on the Russian River, where both their families had summer homes. They married on June 27, 1948 in Petaluma. Bill worked for Anglo California National Bank in San Francisco for five years, then moved to Petaluma to work in Joanne's family business, Pauline Denham Yarns.
In 1956 Bill started his community banking career in Petaluma at First National Bank of San Rafael, then transferred to the San Rafael branch as assistant to the president. In November of 1962 Bill and his brother Donald formed Bank of Marin, located in a building that had once been a roller skating rink in San Rafael. From 1962 to 1972 they grew the bank to a hundred million dollars in assets, with six offices and 143 employees. Bill modeled his way of doing business after his father, establishing strong principles of personal service and community commitment. From the beginning, Bill felt a responsibility to give back to the community, with the belief that by doing good, everyone succeeds. He fostered a sense of teamwork and genuine respect among his coworkers, which led to impressive results year after year.
In 1972 Bill and Don formed a multibank holding company, Independent Bank Shares Corporation, absorbing Bank of Sonoma County and First National Bank of Cloverdale. Later they added Lake County, Gold Country and Vaca Valley banks. In 1983, all the banks in Independent Bank Shares Corporation were then merged into one bank, Westamerica Bank, of which Bill was Chairman. He retired from Westamerica Bank in 1984. In 1989 Murray teamed with J.D. Sullivan to resurrect Bank of Marin, feeling that the community needed a small, independent, community minded bank. Bill partnered with J.D. and the Marin Chambers of Commerce to establish the "Spirit of Marin" annual awards. He successfully grew the second Bank of Marin, retiring in 1995 as Chairman Emeritus.
During his banking career, Murray formed many multigenerational relationships with leading Marin families, such as the Ghilotti's. Mario Ghilotti and Bill became close, long time friends, and Mario served as a Director of the first Bank of Marin.
Murray served leadership roles with numerous banking organizations, and was President of Independent Bankers Association of Northern California, President of Western Independent Bankers Association, including the 9 western states, California Vice President of American Bankers Association, and Director of Association of Registered Bank Holding companies and California Bankers Association.
Murray was also very active with the Marin Council of the Boy Scouts of America, serving as President of the Marin Council. He served as Director and Trustee of the Council Trust Fund, Advisory Council Member, and Chairman of the Endowment Development Committee. Bill was awarded the distinguished citizens award from the Marin council, the distinguished Eagle Scout award from the National Boy Scout Council, and the Silver Beaver award. He was honored by the Marin Builders Association with the Lou Della Valle Construction Industry Award and recently received the Global Citizen Award from the San Rafael based organization Roots of Peace. He and Joanne were members of the Meadow Club in Fairfax for many years and Ironwood Country Club in Palm Desert.
Bill was a Rotary Club member for over fifty years. He served as President of the Rotary Club of San Rafael, and acted as a Director, Treasurer, and supported Rotary Manor. He was a foundation trustee for Marin General Hospital, and Trustee and Director of the S.H. Cowell Foundation in San Francisco. Additionally, Murray served as an officer or director for the Volunteer Bureau of Marin, Sunnyhills, Marin YMCA, Marin County Historical Society, San Rafael Public Education Foundation, San Rafael High School Foundation, and World College West. He also served on the Dominican College Citizens Advisory Committee, Chamber of Commerce, Marin Baptist Seminary Citizens Advisory Committee, Marin Ballet special committees, and was an honorary member of Marin Charitable Association. He was a member of Masonic Lodge #191, Shriners and Marin Yacht Club. He was a deacon and elder of the First Presbyterian Church of San Rafael, of which his grandmother was a founding member. Bill's favorite poem was also his father's, and it aptly sums up his philosophy on life: "Give unto the world the best that you have and the best will come back to you."
From childhood, Bill was a gifted pianist. He also loved boating, owning many boats over the years. He was most happy with family around him and spending time at their San Rafael, Russian River, Lake Tahoe and Palm Springs homes.
He is survived by Joanne Charlotte Murray, his loving wife of 64 years. Bill and Joanne were the parents of four boys. Bill was predeceased by three sons, William Murray III, born in 1952, Steven Denham Murray born in 1956 and David Kirk Murray, born in 1960. Bill is also survived by his son Frank Parlin Murray, born in 1961, of San Rafael, and his two daughters Anna Murray and Sophie Murray and their mother Britt Murray. Two additional grandchildren, Alyssa Murray and William Murray II, and their mother Catherine Murray of Studio City survive him. Additionally, Bill is survived by his sister-in-laws Ann Murray and Gloria Murray and numerous members of the extended Murray Family.
A memorial service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church of San Rafael, 1510 5th Avenue in San Rafael, on Friday, January 3, 2014, at 2:00pm. A reception will immediately follow at Peacock Gap Golf Club, 333 Biscayne Drive in San Rafael. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Marin Council of the Boy Scouts of America, 225 West End Ave, San Rafael, CA 94901, the First Presbyterian Church of San Rafael, or the
. Funeral arrangements made by Monte's Chapel of the Hills.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Dec. 28, 2013 to Jan. 2, 2014