Sterling Kozlowski, the New England regional sales executive and Maine Market president for Key Bank who was known for his devotion to community service, has died. He was 58.

The Falmouth resident, one of Maine’s most high-profile banking executives, died Saturday, his wife, Marylee Kozlowski said Monday. She said a cause had not yet been determined.

“I think he will be remembered for the twinkle in his eye and his brilliant sense of humor,” she said. “I never met anyone who didn’t like him.”

She said that her husband’s funeral arrangements were being worked out and that a service likely would be held at the end of the month.

The couple moved to Maine from upstate New York about eight years ago.

“All of us at KeyBank are deeply saddened by Sterling’s sudden passing,” E.J. Burke, co-president of Key Community Bank, said in a statement. “For years, he was a trusted leader in KeyBank’s Upstate New York and New England regions, and a mentor and friend to many in the business communities of both regions. Sterling was not only a dedicated banker, but also a tireless community servant who worked with countless organizations to make the regions he worked in thrive. Our thoughts are with Sterling’s family, friends and many colleagues during this difficult time.”

Kozlowski had a history of community service since coming to Maine in 2010. He served on the board of the economic development group FocusMaine and was a member of the Senator’s Circle of support for the Mitchell Institute.

Larry Wold, market president of TD Bank Maine, served with Kozlowski on the board of directors for The Foundation for Maine’s Community Colleges. The foundation was established in 2009 and is dedicated to ensuring that Maine’s seven community colleges have the resources they need to provide a high-quality and affordable college education.

Wold said Kozlowski spearheaded a grant effort in May of this year that resulted in a $420,000 check being given to the community college foundation by KeyBank Foundation to support workforce development initiatives.

“We were impressed with the Maine Community College System’s innovative approach to delivering college programming aligned with local workforce needs that create flexible pathways for adults to expand their career options and earning power,” Kozlowski said at the time.

Last December, under Kozlowski’s direction, KeyBank Foundation donated $450,000 payable over three years to Coastal Enterprises Inc. to support small business growth and job creation in Maine’s rural counties. Two years earlier, KeyBank offered a grant of $160,000 to help the University of New England’s dental program reach rural areas of the state.

In 2014, the Spurwink mental health agency named Kozlowski its Humanitarian of the Year. The award is given each year to an individual, couple or organization whose efforts have improved the lives of others.

“Sterling was one of those people who was very visible and active in the community,” Wold said. “I never heard anyone say anything bad about him. He always had a warm smile on his face.”

Andrea Cianchette Maker became acquainted with Kozlowski through his connection to FocusMaine, a program whose mission is to help selected signature industries in Maine grow and to stimulate the state’s economy. Maker serves as co-chair of FocusMaine, which was formed four years ago.

“Sterling was one of our first and most ardent supporters,” Maker said. “He gave tirelessly of his own time and talent.”

Maker said that despite Kozlowski’s busy schedule and obligations to the banking industry, he was always there when FocusMaine needed him.

“Anytime we needed help, he was always willing to pitch in,” she said. “I think he viewed his position in life as a way to help build his community. His passing is a loss. He was a real champion for Maine.”

Chris Pinkham, president of the Maine Bankers Association, said Kozlowski served on the association’s executive committee from 2012-15. Pinkham said that KeyBank operates 50 branches throughout Maine.

Pinkham said he met with Kozlowski about three weeks ago to discuss banking priorities and the state’s economic environment. He was impressed with Kozlowski’s devotion to helping others.

“I think he loved banking and he loved the community,” Pinkham said.

Kozlowski was appointed to the top KeyBank post in Maine in 2012 after serving two years as the district director for the Maine market. Before that, he was the western district of New York president for the bank.

In his LinkedIn profile, Kozlowski talked about the role of the banking industry and said his career was inspired by his father, also a banker.

“In banking, as in life, honesty and integrity are the basis of everything. You need these traits to lead, to serve and to succeed,” he wrote.

“Growing up with a father who was a banker, I had my eye on banking from an early age. It’s challenging, people-oriented work that helps you understand the world and study what makes businesses prosper. I’ve obtained experience across a wide range of areas – from retail and business to commercial and private banking. They all come into play when overseeing Key’s Community Bank franchise.”

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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