Alan “Ace” Greenberg, longtime head of Bear Stearns, a legend on Wall Street who gave Bear Stearns its characteristic risk-loving bravado, passed away last Friday at the age of 86. At the funeral at Temple Emmanu-El on the Upper East Side was seen luminaries of finance, including Nelson Peltz, John Paulson and Alan D. Schwartz, who was head of Bear Stearns during its final dark days before it went under during the financial crisis in 2008.
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Greenberg was a magician, literally (the head of a Magician’s society once snapped his magic wand in two) loved quips and big game hunting, but his genius was in finance. During the eulogy, rabbi Ronald B. Sobel, said, “What Ernest Hemingway was to the world of 20th century literature, Alan Greenberg was to the world of 20th century finance … Both were intrigued by bulls — Hemingway by the bulls of Spain and Alan by the bulls of Wall Street.”
John A. Catsimatidis, owner of the Gristedes grocery store and former candidate for Mayor of New York said of Greenberg, “You could shake hands with Ace, and know you didn’t have to have anything in writing.”
Greenberg was known for his humor and for his thriftiness. Particularly, his humor over his thriftiness. When asked why he never went on a vacation in Europe, Greenberg replied, “It took my grandparents generations to get out of there. Why should I go back?” He cautioned his family, prior to his passing, not to spend too much money on a coffin. According to the New York Times, his son said, “We blew $600 on the casket, ” Referring to a private club in Manhattan, he added, “We’ll try to make it back in the Harmonie Club shiva.”