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In Memoriam: Joseph J. Berry

 

Age: 55

Place of Residence: Saddle River, NJ

Location on 9/11: Two WTC, 89th floor

Occupation: Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Chairman & CEO

 

 

Dedicated Memorial Sites:
   Ridgewood Country Club Memorial (Paramus)

 

Biography:

 

"To know Joe is to walk on the sunny side of the street," a beautiful quote from a friend that very much captures Joe’s persona. Joe’s wife, Evelyn, of 32 years, stated, "He never came down in the morning without a smile on his face."

 

Evelyn and Joe met at a high school graduation party. When Evelyn was asked if it was love at first sight, she responded, "For me it was; he was drop-dead gorgeous."

 

Together Joe and Evelyn made a beautiful couple. After dating for five years throughout college, they married afterwards in 1969, and were blessed with three beautiful children: Joseph, Todd, and Kimberly.

 

Joe was even more beautiful on the inside than on the outside. He was very down-to-earth and kind to everyone he met. The many, many tributes and kind messages written about Joe after he died are a true testament to a life well-lived and a man well-loved.

 

Evelyn said that she and Joe loved each other more and more as time went on and told each other all the time.

 

As successful as Joe was in his career, he was home for dinner, coached his children’s sports teams, and spoke to Evelyn often throughout the day. "He always took the phone call," Evelyn stated while discussing how Joe always took time out of his busy schedule for his family.

 

 

Joe had a great drive to succeed and he built a career and business that was truly exceptional, yet he always put his family first. His wife and children were his joy.

 

Growing up, [his] family had lots of warmth and love but not much money ... so he started delivering newspapers. Joe started working at age 11 and never stopped. At some points in high school, he actually had two after school jobs. He worked his way through Queens College and went on to teach math at Christ the King High School in Queens. He enjoyed teaching but he had a different dream. He wanted to work on Wall Street. He wanted financial success. So he went back to school at night and earned his MBA from St. John’s University.

 

He was hired by Keefe Bruyette in 1972 and worked there for 29 years. Joe and his partners worked hard to build Keefe into a highly successful investment bank. Joe’s intelligence, his drive and his people skills were all key to making the company a force in the industry.

 

Excerpt from tribute written by Joe’s sister Mary Lynn

 

 

Joseph J. Berry Keefe Bruyette & Woods

 

Colleagues say Joseph Berry, 55, was a pillar of his investment bank. A native New Yorker educated at Queens College and St. John’s, he taught high school in Queens before joining the sales group of Keefe Bruyette in 1972. He eventually worked his way up to COO and co-CEO.

 

Former associate Rock Tonkel, now an executive at Friedman Billings Ramsey in Arlington, Va., says that Berry was "a key reason the company made it through some very hard times," including the departure and retirement of the firm’s founders and an insider-trading scandal that preceded his appointment as co-CEO along with John Duffy, in 1999. "Joe was a solid individual," Tonkel says.

 

Berry was married and had three children--including a son who also worked at the firm but is not among the fatalities. Almost 70 of Keefe Bruyette’s 172 World Trade Center employees, including four members of the company’s executive committee, were missing as FORTUNE went to press.

 

Boyle, Matthew et al. "Casualties Of War" 1 October 2001 <money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2001/10/01/310906/index.htm>

 

Biography

 

The New York Times
Portraits of Grief

 

Joseph J. Berry Scholarship

 

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