Longtime San Diego banker and philanthropist Murray Galinson died Jan. 3 at the age of 75.

Galinson had been ill lately and recently underwent surgery for a tumor on his spine, but was supposedly in recovery, said business partner and former San Diego City Manager Jack McGrory.

“His surgery was a few weeks ago and we thought everything was fine so it’s been quite a shock,” McGrory said.

A native Minnesotan, Galinson came to San Diego in 1970 to teach law, and established himself as a local Democratic power broker. His credentials as a heavyweight Democrat were solidified in 1984 when he was named to head up the national fundraising campaign for Sen. Walter Mondale in his unsuccessful bid to unseat President Ronald Reagan.

In 1981, he was part of a group of business people who established San Diego National Bank, and became its president and chief executive officer, as well as being the chairman and holding other titles with the bank’s holding company, SDNB Financial Corp. until the bank was acquired by FBOP Corp. of Chicago in 1996.

Starting in the mid-1990s until most recently, Galinson held various board positions with Price Enterprises, PriceSmart Inc. and Price Charities, entities founded by the late Sol Price.

About four years ago, Galinson and McGrory teamed up to form their own development and investment firm called La Jolla MJ Management, which did both commercial and residential development, and venture capital investment.

“He was working hard all the way up to the end, putting in a full day. We’re going to miss him,” McGrory said.

An ardent supporter of many different causes, Galinson was a contributor and worked in leadership positions at a slew of nonprofit groups. He also established his own foundation that funded a number of projects including the Monarch School, the Children’s Museum, and a variety of Jewish groups.

McGrory, who met Galinson while he was the city’s deputy city manager in the mid-1980s, called him a bright and compassionate man, whose enduring legacy will be all the philanthropic causes he helped throughout his life.

— Mike Allen