Monday, April 13, 2009

Dismal and Deleterious

No, not the economy this time.

I have received word that George Springman, the Chief Investment Officer of my former firm (WHV), passed Thursday. George wasn't just a man, he was an institution. I'm no spring chicken, but George started in the business the year I was born. No one, and I mean NO ONE, knew how to take care of clients like George. Today a former colleague who is talented in his own right mentioned that he sat in awe in December as George held an investment board in the palm of his hand for the entire meeting.

Investment strategy meetings with George were always an adventure. Agree or disagree with his position, he would always have an amazing retinue of information to support his view.

George suffered from cancer over the past year, but nothing could keep him from the office. He officially retired at the end of March, and had only 9 days of official retirement. We always joked that he'd stay in the business to the end, but I don't suppose any of us believed it would be so true.

I'll miss his deep whiskey and cigarettes voice (the result, I'm fairly certain, of an interesting past prior to his conversion to Mormonism) rumbling "Well, Patty, you know..." as he launched into a long story. But the thing I'll miss the most is his vocabulary. I mean this with total love and affection, but someone should have taken away his word-a-day calendar a long time ago, or at least provided the correct pronunciation for some of the more obscure words. His signature phrase, heard on a regular basis during crummy times in the market was "dismal and deleterious."

Vaya con Dios, George Springman. We're richer for having known you and poorer from having lost you.

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