Carlo Savini Fowler, a California bond attorney in public finance for more than 45 years, died on Dec. 6. He was 81.
Known among his colleagues as an enthusiastic and positive person, Fowler worked on many bond financings for issuers in the state, including the city of Sacramento, the Imperial Irrigation District, the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District, and several state agencies.
Based in San Francisco, he focused on water and power financings in California, but was an expert in many areas.
"He was a kind of archetype of what a bond lawyer should be, ranging over a number of different areas like water, power, local government assessment bonds - and he was an expert in each one of them," said Roger Davis, partner and head of public finance at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. "And he radiated enthusiasm in everything he did."
Davis worked with Fowler in Orrick's San Francisco office, where Fowler spent 46 years. Fowler was the 21st lawyer to join the firm in 1960 and became partner in 1968.
Davis joined a few years later in 1974.
"He was one of my mentors and an icon when I was an associate," Davis said. "He truly shared the work and the responsibility of the transactions we worked on together, virtually as equals."
Before Fowler became a bond attorney, he graduated from Yale University with a bachelor's degree in engineering and entered active duty in the United States Navy.
He was stationed in San Diego on the carrier U.S.S. Philippine Sea, where he served as a lieutenant, junior grade. While onboard the ship, he aided the legal officer in advising fellow seamen on legal infractions, finding he had a knack for law. Fowler then attended Harvard Law School and graduated in 1959.
He clerked for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco before joining Orrick.
"I always remember Carlo as being a can-do type attorney, looking for solutions," said Frank Soriano, president of Sutter Securities in San Francisco. "Whenever we ran across some kind of problem or challenge, he would always find some way to work it out, to bring us to where we wanted to be."
Soriano was as a public finance investment banker working on deals with Fowler as far back as 1964. They continued to work together throughout the years until Fowler retired from Orrick in 2006.
Shortly after, the folks at Sutter Securities convinced Fowler to come back and work as an investment banker. He passed his Series 7 exam and worked with Soriano for a few more years until he went back into retirement.
"He was very helpful, smart, and diligent," Soriano said. "Working on a professional level with him has been a great pleasure."
Fowler was a founding member of the National Association of Bond Lawyers and the San Francisco Municipal Forum, a charter founding member of the American College of Bond Counsel, and an active member of the San Francisco Bond Club.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Dianne, two sons, two daughters, and seven grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held on Jan. 11 at 1:00 p.m. at the Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross, Calif. Memorial donations can be made to Defenders of Wildlife or the Marin Humane Society.