Thomas R. Bolton, president and chief executive officer of Merchants National Bank in Sacramento, died last week at the age of 43.

Mr. Bolton had been hospitalized with bacterial spinal meningitis. He died a few days after slipping into a coma. "We have lost a wonderful person," said his father, Thomas M. Bolton Jr.

The younger Mr. Bolton joined the family-owned bank in 1992 after a career as a stockbroker in Southern California. He took the helm in 1996, succeeding his father, who stayed on as chairman.

The elder Mr. Bolton, 78, has reinstated himself as president and CEO of the bank, which has $85 million of assets. He said he will run it for two or three years. The family has no plans to sell the bank, he added.

Merchants National was founded in 1921 by Harold H. Robinson, the senior Mr. Bolton's father-in-law.

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