Gov. Jerry Brown made a rare appearance in Santa Barbara on May 23, paying a brief but personal tribute to tri-county businessman Michael Towbes.
Towbes died April 11 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 87.
Speaking at a memorial service that filled the Granada Theatre, Brown described Towbes as “a helluva guy.”
Towbes, he said “made money, made friends and was a man who knew quality.”
Brown said Towbes had supported his recent gubernatorial campaigns and he said Towbes’ leadership on the $60 million fundraising for the Granada was a remarkable example.
Speakers at the memorial service included Montecito Bank & Trust chair Janet Garufis and Towbes Group CEO Craig Zimmerman.
Sage Group CEO Sara Miller McCune called Towbes her mentor in organizing the McCune Foundation.
“He built two giant corporations,” said Jordano’s CEO Peter Jordano, a longtime bank board member. “I want to be like Mike.”
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