On December 6, 2015, I bid a ceremonial farewell to my late husband Greg, through a celebration of his life at the Salamander Resort, near what had been our last home together in Middleburg, Virginia.
Now, one year and a half later, over the weeks approaching Greg’s 54th birthday on June 6, 2017, I am taking the opportunity to post transcripts of the tributes that were delivered on the day of his memorial.
Below is a transcript of the tribute delivered by Laurie Goodman, perhaps of all Greg’s bosses the most prominent in their field, who was in final stages of re-hiring him when he died in an accident at our then-home in Middleburg, Virginia, October 16, 2015. Original video part 1 here and part 2 here.
This is the first time I’ve spoken at a memorial service for a dear friend, and Greg was a wonderful person and a dear friend.
Greg and I first became friendly when I hired him in early 2005 to join the mortgage strategy group at UBS. I didn’t know Greg very well at all, and I felt a little bit guilty about hiring him away from Mark Hanson at Freddie Mac who was also a friend. Mark’s reaction: “You could do more for him at this point than I. I care a lot about him, and I want the best for him.”
I was really impressed, both by Mark’s kindness, and by the fact that Greg had made that kind of impression on a former boss. I’ve been in Mark’s shoes numerous times, and I can’t say I’ve ever been quite that graceful.
Greg was smart, but so was everyone else in the mortgage strategy group at UBS. What really distinguished Greg was his very high emotional IQ and his kindness. He knew when he could be really helpful to others, and he did way more than his fair share of things for the group that just needed to get done, and he was also instrumental in bringing along a generation of young analysts.
We always stayed very late on Tuesday evenings to put out our weekly mortgage strategist publication – and I mean very late. Often finishing at 2 am, 3 am, technically Wednesday morning, sometimes later. But we were never hungry, even Greg. The highlight of the evening was dinner ordered in from a local restaurant around 7 pm. We all worked hard on the publication, sat down to dinner, and then wrote some more.
Whenever anyone finished their article, and it had been edited and laid out, they were free to leave. Greg was always the person who pitched in when others were running behind schedule, even knowing that it would keep him there later on already late nights. He was the person who came to me on Mondays and again on Tuesdays when his article was running reasonably well, and asked how I was doing, did I need help on my article?
He was usually the guy who told me when others were in trouble and offering to help. And late Tuesday nights he was always the guy offering to proofread others’ work. And somehow Greg’s offers perfectly coincided with where we really needed help the most. And he was also the person who often volunteered to take these curve ball articles.
We had a weekly meeting when we discussed what should go into the publication. When something new came up, members of the group “volunteered” to cover it. Greg, who covered agency MBS – especially specified pools and agency CMOS – was a frequent volunteer.
I remember clearly when the asset-backed commercial paper conduits began to run into trouble in August of 2007, and we had a discussion in the meeting that it was a potentially very big issue. “Okay,” I asked, “who knows a lot about asset-backed commercial paper conduits and wants to look at this?”
No hands. Okay, “who knows something about asset-backed commercial paper conduits and wants to look at this?” Greg’s hand went up. “I worked on related issues at Schwab, I’ll handle it.” And he, with Jeanna Curro’s very able assistance, did a wonderful job on the first article in under a week.
He then became the expert on the topic. I went back and looked. He did five articles on the topic in total, ending on November 27….
Greg was the guy who worked with younger members of the group to get them up the learning curve …. but it wasn’t just the people at work who could pay him dividends.
He cultivated young people from across the industry, answering their questions both on the mortgage market and on the career ladder and life in general. My son Lewis Perwien was a beneficiary of this.
My relationship with Greg very quickly evolved from someone who worked in my group to a real friendship. I was leaving UBS and considering going to Amherst when I asked Greg what he thought. I relied more on Greg’s advice than on anyone else. He knew Amherst because he once worked there, he knew me, I trusted his judgment, and he had a very high emotional IQ which allowed him to think things through from my perspective.
Greg and I remained close friends through the years. He was a very loyal friend, and I depended on him to keep my confidences. I often relied on his advice on how to handle various sticky situations. We chatted often, seeing each other for dinner and drinks. I always appreciated his honesty, his kindness, his excellent judgment and his superb sense of humor.
I had hoped to be able to work with him again, on Mark’s “Go Fish” theory, as he was slated to join Amherst Capital Management where I was consulting. When Amherst was recruiting him, I was sure he was the right hire. It wasn’t just his broad knowledge of the housing and mortgage and fixed income markets – but rather, his flexibility, his wonderful way of working with people, and his kindness – that made me really confident in the choice.
Rest well, dear friend.