Bennett L. Fisher

Bennett L. Fisher

Died September 11, 2001

Ben Fisher died September 11, 2001 in the attack on the World Trade Center.

He was a senior vice president at Fiduciary Trust International, which had offices in the South Tower. In the aftermath of the tragedy, many people credited Ben with saving their lives, pushing them into elevators and stepping out to stay behind.

Writing in the Class of 1965’s 35th reunion directory in 2000, Ben noted that he had worked at the same firm for 33 years and that he and his wife, Susan, had just celebrated their 30th anniversary, having lived in the same house for 25 years in the town where he was born (Greenwich,CT). “It would appear I have lower than average turnover in my life,” he said.

Ben was a long-time trustee of the Pomfret School, where he chaired the Investment Committee for roughly ten years. During this period, the school’s endowment grew from under $10 million to over $30 million. Prior to Ben’s death, he was elected a permanent trustee.

Ben’s wife, Susan, says, “Ben worked at Fiduciary Trust forever in many different capacities and loved it.” She remembers “the marvelous qualities that I loved for the 32 years we were married – his fabulous sense of humor, his great comic timing, his talents as a story-teller. He had a fine, well-tuned mind with a good grasp of issues and events along with the ability to make everything understandable, making for wonderful dialogue.”

Susan also recalls Ben’s “serendipitous creativity which made each encounter a bit of a surprise, whether using solitaire to teach someone how to use a mouse, paint an old car purple, make a present, or share an idea or perspective.”

“At some point,” she continues, “I realized that all of this is still with me in my life. Only the appearance has changed. As our daughter, Louisa, said recently, ‘Miss Dad? Of course!

‘But he is part of my daily life – I hear his ideas, laugh at his jokes, and think his thoughts.’”

Susan concludes, “That’s a great legacy for a good man.”

Ben is survived by his wife, Susan, and their two children, Louisa (1975), and James (1977). In the final years of his life, Ben was deeply involved in the effort to restore the lighthouse on Great Captain’s Island, located off the Greenwich shoreline. With the help of memorial contributions in the aftermath of 9/11, the project was finally completed in 2009. In 2010, a 9/11 memorial was dedicated at the lighthouse site, honoring the 26 individuals with ties to Greenwich who perished in the attack.

Joseph Altschuler remembers: Ben was one of the first individuals I encountered on the first day on The Old Campus on 9/14/1961, almost 40 years to the day before his horrendous death while a senior officer of Fiduciary Trust in the WTC on 9/11.
When I lost my job at Citicorp Ben had me interview at Fiduciary and it was fortunate for me that I didn’t get hired in that position. May Ben’s soul rest in peace.

Peter Conze remembers: Ben and I grew up together in Greenwich, CT, where his family was widely known and respected and his father, in particular, highly regarded as one of the name partners of the town’s leading private law firm. Ben was a year ahead of me and attended Brunswick School, which I didn’t, so our interaction was generally confined to summer sailing competitions between his club, Indian Harbor Yacht Club, and mine, the Belle Haven Beach Club. Ben generally won our races, having been well-trained by his father and mother who were very accomplished sailors in their own right. When Ben wasn’t available to sail with his father in the weekend race series, I often substituted for him, and quickly learned why Ben was such a good sailor too!

Our interaction at Yale was principally confined to rowing, as Ben was the manager of the varsity heavyweight crew during our senior year. Once we graduated, and left our time at Gales Ferry behind, I hardly anticipated encountering Ben in any other venue. But, most remarkably, he materialized in Bled, Yugoslavia (in those days) during late August, 1966, to watch the World Rowing Championships, where Judy and I had driven the car of a great friend, rowing for the U.K., who needed his car for some touring after the regatta.

That encounter was certainly unexpected, but minor compared to our next meeting. After surrendering the car to our friend, we relied on public transportation to travel to Greece before returning to Cambridge for my second year. We got as far as Mycene, and then literally ran out of money and means to return to Athens. In one of the most fortuitous encounters of my life, who should round into the visitors’ parking lot at precisely the most propitiously necessary moment ever, but Ben Fisher in his brand new Porsche 911? To add that Judy and I were rescued is an understatement!

We traveled with Ben back to Athens, then to Corfu (where we stayed as a threesome in the local students’ hostel as tourist hotels were still part of the future), and then eventually to Rome. Ben was remarkable for adopting us as he did, we had a most enjoyable time together, and I will never forget his generosity and camaraderie during our unusual time together. After that, much to my disappointment, we hardly ever saw Ben again but I will always be grateful and never forget him.