Peter and Mona Branagh Killed In Small Plane Crash

Local developer and California Bank of Commerce Director Peter Branagh was killed with his wife Mona in a small plane crash over the weekend, company officials confirm.


Local developer and California Bank of Commerce Director Peter Branagh was killed with his wife Mona in a small plane crash over the weekend, bank officials confirmed Monday.

A spokesman at California Bank of Commerce offices said details were not being released as family members were still getting word of and processing the news. The couple was believed to have been flying from Utah to Aspen, Colorado, where they maintained a home, when their plane went down.

"We've lost a great director, a great man, a great friend," a company official said Monday. "We are withholding further statement out of respect for the family."

Branagh, 59, was also President of Branagh Development, Inc., based in Lafayette, and was involved with several ongoing development projects in Lamorinda.

"This is a very sad and tragic day for our community," Lafayette City Manager Steve Falk said when told of the news Monday. "I had the privilege to work very closely with Peter over the last decade on several different projects. I can say that he was a man of the highest caliber, of supreme integrity, a fellow who had a supreme focus on quality. He refused to build anything that would degrade the community and he insisted upon building developments that enhanced communities."

Branagh Development has several pending projects in Lafayette, including the Woodbury condominiums located behind the Veterans Memorial Hall, a proposed office building development on the corner of Mt. Diablo Blvd. and Risa Rd., and a project on Happy Valley Rd.  Branagh Development also recently finished the Hidden Oaks development in Lafayette.

Lafayette Planning and Building Manager Niroop Srivasta said she would miss working with Branagh.

"It was such a pleasure and privilege to work with him. He was a man of his word and somebody who really cared about Lafayette," said Srivasta.

Mona Branagh's taste echoed that of her husband's affinity for traditional architecture and classic design. She owned a Danville-based interior design business. Friends of the Branaghs wrote throughout the morning Monday, seeking information and remembering the couple.

"Peter was a man of his word," Falk remembered. "If he said he was going to do something he would do it. Beyond all that, he was just an incredibly nice guy and very easy to be around and I’m going miss him."

Initial reports indicate that a debris field found in Sevier County, central Utah, was wreckage from a small airplane that went missing on a flight from California to Colorado Saturday night.

Officials in Utah said a privately hired helicopter spotted debris in the Sevier County's Saleratus Canyon, about 30 miles southeast of Salina. Investigators are attempting to confirm if the wreckage is that of a Cirrus SR22 registered to Springhill Aviation LLC in Danville.

Two people were aboard the downed aircraft, the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office confirmed in a press release, but their names were not given.

The plane was traveling from northern California to Aspen, Colo. when it was reported overdue and family members started calling for assistance. Radar tracking last placed the plane in Sevier County. Reports that the aircraft may have encountered a storm in the area could not be immediately confirmed.

Civil Air Patrol search aircraft as well as a plane from the Emery County Sheriff’s Office and a private helicopter contracted by the family joined in the search. The Cirrus SR22 is equipped with the Cirrus Aircraft Parachute System (CAPS), an emergency parachute capable of lowering the entire aircraft and its occupants to the ground in the event of an engine failure.

It is not known if that system was deployed prior to the crash.


Patch writer Hannah Strumwasser contributed to this report.

Larry Blodgett July 16, 2012 at 07:36 PM
I can't believe this is true. Mona and Peter are two of the nicest people I've ever met and their business ethics beyond reproach. My heartfelt sympathies go out to their family.
Jeff Sandoval July 16, 2012 at 07:58 PM
What a shock! Peter and Mona were the best of people. I will keep the family in my prayers.
joan B July 16, 2012 at 08:36 PM
A terrible shock to the community. Our thoughts and prayers out to their children and extended family.
Heidi S. July 16, 2012 at 09:33 PM
My family is so sad to hear this news. We are doing a project with Mona and Kathleen, and we feel blessed that our loves were touched by Mona. You are in our prayers. Heidi S.
Heidi S. July 16, 2012 at 09:38 PM
My family is so sad to hear this news. We are doing a project with Mona and Kathleen, and we feel blessed that our lives and home were touched by Mona. K-You and your family are in our prayers.
Karen Kallmes July 16, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Having dealt with Peter for many, many years we will miss his honest integrity. We will pray for their children for comfort during this painful time.
Sue Haas July 16, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Our very sincere regrets to their family.
Brad Gill July 16, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Peter and Mona were two of the nicest people you would want to meet and know. I grew up with Peter and remember well playing together as kids. Peter had a clean and honest business sense while Mona had the designers eye. His parents, brothers and grandparents were salt of the earth. A very special family. Peter and Mona will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with their family.
Jim Orosco July 16, 2012 at 10:49 PM
What a terrible shock. Cheryl's and my heart go out to the family. Our thoughts prayers are with them.
Dennis Black July 16, 2012 at 11:30 PM
We are shocked by the news. We were friends of theirs from our college years and the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. They were a wonderful couple and our prayers go out to the family. Dennis and Debby Black
Danielle July 16, 2012 at 11:43 PM
I am so sorry. Mona was a delight. The only consolation I take from this is that they were together. My condolences to their family
patty lindquist July 17, 2012 at 02:23 AM
We have lost two very dear friends. Mark and I will miss them and their positve outlook on life. Our prayers are with K athleen, Matt and Michael at this very sad time.p
Cindy Lubas July 17, 2012 at 02:33 AM
I haven't seen Mona in many years. But I was involved with her in a Bible Study. She was a wondeful person. She also taught my son how to ride a bike! I have nothing but good memories of Mona. Cindy Lubas
francine dole July 17, 2012 at 02:33 AM
We lived in Moraga across the street from Mona and Peter in a beautiful home built by Peter. Our condolences to their family. The Doles
Lisa Peat July 17, 2012 at 12:13 PM
We were devastated to hear the news. Mona and Peter had to be the nicest and best looking couple in Lamorinda~they leave behind three beautiful children and their ever growing families. Our deepest condolences to all of them and hope the kind words of family and friends will make this very difficult time a bit easier Love and prayers to you all... Lisa & Dave Peat
Bill Massarwweh July 17, 2012 at 02:19 PM
As one of many former members of the Moraga Tennis & Swim Club we had the privilege of getting to know Peter and Mona as our respective children were growing up and participating in Swim Team summer activities during the 1990's. Reading this morning of their passing was a shock and leaves us mourning the loss of two very likeable Lamorinda residents. Our hearts and condolences to their children and the rest of their family. Bill & Mary Massarweh
wendy July 17, 2012 at 05:43 PM
I had the pleasure of working with Mona closely as we prepared for the 2011 Lafayette Jrs Kitchen Tour. She and Peter graciously opened their brand new, spectacular home in Happy Valley to be on the tour. They worked around the clock to get things finished to uphold their commitment to Lafayette Jrs and our charities. They truly showed the utmost integrity and class throughout the entire process, it was a privilege to know them and help them with their beautiful home. This is a tragic loss for all. Wendy Means
David Everly July 17, 2012 at 08:02 PM
I have been friends with John Bellig (Peter and Mona's cousin) and his family since 2003 and John let me know they were both very faithful Christians. Although I never met Peter and Mona, I know Jesus knows his flock. And sad as we are at their passing, I know they have faithfully finish their eartly course and now reside with one that can give real everylasting life! John 3:16
Patti Francis July 17, 2012 at 11:34 PM
I'm still in shocked grief at the tragic news of Mona and Peter's loss of life. They were such a light in Moraga and Lafayette - basically wherever they lived they drew the best out of those they came in contact with. Mona was the best encourager in her neighborhood and a passionate volunteer for Women of Vision - helping those women and children less fortunate around the world. What a privilege to have know them and have prayed over the years for their great kids and spouses. Our prayers to the family. Patti & Ron Francis
John T. Nejedly July 27, 2012 at 02:57 AM
A great loss to our entire community. John T. Nejedly


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