Donald A. Estell, regarded as one of the elder statesman of Missouri’s public finance community and who was named head of public finance at Commerce Bank Capital Markets Group last summer, died Sunday night after the small plane he was piloting crashed. He had turned 65 earlier this month.

News that Mr. Estell, the longtime president of Stern Brothers & Co. who retired in 2008, was one of two men killed in the crash stunned the local public finance community. Mr. Estell, of Clayton, and the plane’s only other occupant, Robert Clarkso, of Cahokia, were killed when Mr. Estell’s Piper Malibu crashed into an unoccupied home outside of Belleville, Ill., as the two were headed to the St. Louis Downtown Airport after a weekend at a flight training center in Florida. Local and federal authorities are investigating the cause.

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