Mike was born July 17, 1929, in Washington, D.C., to Louis H. and Thelma Lavigne Towbes.

At Princeton he majored in civil engineering and was active in Terrace Club and the Center for Jewish Life. He roomed with Jack Timberlake. Mike graduated summa cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Mike’s one semester at MIT was interrupted by three years’ service in the Navy Civil Engineering Corps.

In 1954 he and Gail Aronson were married and the following year they moved to California. Mike then started the real estate construction and development business for which he became so well known. Over the years the Towbes Group developed more than 6,000 residential units and 1.8 million square feet of commercial properties. Mike was a founder and sole shareholder of Montecito Bank and Trust. In 1980 he established the Towbes Foundation, dedicated to assisting the needs of local nonprofits. Gail passed away in 1996 of multiple sclerosis.

Mike died April 13, 2017, in Santa Barbara of pancreatic cancer. He is survived by his second wife, Anne Smith Towbes; his daughters, Lianne and Carrie; two grandchildren; and his sister, Carol Skinner.

Class Year: 
Undergraduate Class of 1951

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