The retired banking executive also was a well-known patron and supporter of the arts, and he was named Stocktonian of the Year in 2008.
"David was a man who was unafraid of defying conventional wisdom, whether it was taking a small, locally based financial institution public or hiring a female executive in an otherwise male-dominated world," said friend
In 1981, Rea converted then-Stockton Savings from a local "mutual association" into a publicly traded company. The results were astonishing.
The small savings-and-loan association went from a single office with
"It's the best thing we ever did," Rea said later.
He retired in 1997 as chairman of the board at 78. Rea was instrumental in Butterfield's achieving her first executive position in banking. "I got my chance through him. He hired me as controller in 1984," she said.
Rea was respected within the
"Dave was an icon in the financial community and the city of Stockton," said
Butterfield described Rea as decisive, forward thinking and generous.
After graduating from
During the war, he flew fighter planes and bombers. Rea was stationed in the
After the war, he returned to Stockton and married
In 1955, Rea became the manager of
It was sold to
In 1959, he married
Rea played the piano for local bands during high school, and that passion led him to his interest in the arts.
During the 1970s, Rea helped retired public-relations executive
"He was wonderful and kind -- a good man," Jacobs said. "He received the STAR award for his lasting contribution to the arts in
Rea stopped flying after the war but took it up again 25 years later. His wife, Elizabeth, also became a pilot, and together they owned a Cessna 182 Skylane that they nicknamed "Sweety."
Community involvement was a large part of his life.
Rea was appointed to the Stockton Unified School District Board of Trustees in 1947 at age 28, the youngest person to serve in that position until then. He also served as president of the
He was on the boards of the
Rea also was involved in the
Rea is survived by his wife and three children,
A memorial service is planned, but details have not been announced.
Rea was frequently a step ahead of others as the banking industry evolved during the second half of the 20th century. "I never forgot the opportunity he gave me," Butterfield said. "And taking Stockton Savings public brought quite a level of sophistication. He leaves quite a legacy from that perspective. "
Rea was cutting edge before that term was created.
When he was first named manager of the old
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