Wall Street lost one of its best and brightest yesterday, when Rich Yamarone — known to his friends and colleagues as “Yammy”– passed away. He was 55.
He was a true Renaissance man who often surprised people with his many talents. I knew first hand that he was a guitarist/vocalist, fly fisherman, opera singer, and so much more — but every new skill felt like a practical joke. “What? You are also a pilot?” and then someone else would confirm it. Gourmet chef? Ranked athlete? Really?
No one was surprised when he would break into song, filling the room with his booming deep baritone. Dave Rosenberg was a guest on mib at Bloomberg, and during our chat, I spotted Yammy walking by; I waved him into the studio, and he more or less snuck up behind Rosie by launching into his version of Oh! Canada. It was vintage Yamarone. (Click thru to the 1:18:30 mark here, here, here or here).
We are all so much poorer for the loss.
His closest friends have a few words to share below . . .
I met Rich Yamarone in 2002 when he called me out of the blue to ask “the new kid on the block” out for dinner and to show me around New York City. I had just started at Merrill Lynch as the chief economist and Rich had the same role at Argus Research for years. It was like a first date! We hit it off from the get-go; I mean positive karma immediately. A warmer, more caring, person, you will ever rarely meet. The quickest wit in the east. And who knew how to love life. A renaissance man too — fly fisherman, chef, opera singer, air pilot, author, guitarist and athlete. Did I say first-rate economist? As we mourn his passing at such an early age, he managed to live many lives into one short life. It is with more than a touch of irony that it would be his heart that gave out on him, since it was so big. He was a giver. I was so lucky, and I know I speak for all his close relationships, to have had him as part of my life and to call him a friend. Forever.
I’ve been remarkably fortunate for the last dozen or so years to count among my best friends – on or off the Street – Dave Rosenberg, Barry Ritholtz, and Rich Yamarone. That Rich was a genuine, authentic, warm and decent human being was readily apparent the first time you shook his hand. It was impossible not to like Rich Yamarone. Aside from his scintillating personality and dashing good looks – just ask him about either, he’d be happy to tell you – Rich was a great economist and a true Renaissance man (again, all you had to do was ask him). I’ll steal a line that I got from his former colleague Dom Chu last night: “I paid more attention to [Rich’s] Orange Book than the [Fed’s] beige one.” Amen to that. My wish for Rich, that we joked about often, was that Bloomberg would give him a late-night economics show called “Yammy In His Jammies” – Rich in his feety pajamas breaking down nonfarm payrolls. Would have been huge. Our foursome – Dave, Barry, Rich, and me – will remain a foursome. At least to me, because Rich, our brother, will always be with us.
Rich was a giant in so many ways. He was a great economist, his writings educated professionals and helped make economics accessible to the layman. More meaningfully, he was the rare man who approached everyone with an outstretched hand, a smile, a joke, an a capella song and a brilliant and quick mind.
Being in his presence was always sure to make you smile. Those of us who were honored to have known him well were treated to quiet moments with a deeply reflective and supportive friend who was always there to put his hand on your shoulder and make you feel everything was ok even when things felt not so good.
He measured others, generously, by the kindness of their hearts but few could have truly been measured against his own. My mourning for the loss of those moments with him will be hard to overcome but the smiles, laughs and warmth I feel with every memory of our times together will remain more lasting.
Rich would often jokingly ask: “You know who’s a great guy?” and then answer his own question with an emphatic “Me!”. The answer was always obvious, and never a joke, to those who were blessed to have known him.
Richard Yamarone was first and foremost a son, brother, partner and a friend. Richard was a renaissance-man in the true sense of the word. He was a man of many, many talents. It didn’t matter if he was playing guitar and singing with his wonderful baritone voice, cooking dinner with you, sharing a bottle of wine with you, or talking about timely issues pertaining to the economy. Whatever he did, he did it to the fullest and with passion. He accomplished so much but he did it all with honesty and openness. It was a treat for me to spend time with Richard because I was guaranteed to laugh and even learn. I say learn because whatever he did he immersed himself in it and became knowledgeable, and then shared it with you because that is who he was. I was fortunate to be a friend of Richard’s. In a 3.5 hour car ride I knew more about Richard than I knew about friends I have known for decades. He was open and honest about himself and most of all Richard Yamarone was what I referred to all the time as being simply one of the good guys.
By now many know that Richard Yamarone passed away on November 28th, 2017 at age 55. There are many of us who enjoyed his company in Montana and in Maine as part of annual gatherings of fishing, discussions, and camaraderie. We mourn his loss.
I can picture in my mind when he picked up the guitar and sang Folsom Prison Blues. I can picture him standing on the deck at Leen’s Lodge, and in the dining room at Hubbard’s Yellowstone Lodge. We plied him with a glass, or maybe two, of wine. Rich loosened up and he allowed himself the freedom to be himself. Then he had the courage to sing to us.
I can remember how loudly we applauded, how we cheered his effort. And he had a really good voice. He grinned a mile wide and beamed with delight. It was a warm and tender moment for all who were there. It is a warm and tender memory now.
Richard Yamarone, a friend, a colleague, an economist, a commentator and Camp Kotok attendee.
Many of you already have the heart-breaking news that the wonderful Richard Yamarone stopped breathing yesterday afternoon; he had a heart attack on Thursday morning while playing hockey with his team, his Thanksgiving tradition. A tremendous man, a tremendous friend, and a tremendous economist.
In 2009, Captain Chesley Sullenberger safely landed his crippled plane on the Hudson River. So accomplished was he that he planned to hit the river where he thought there would be no boats, telling passengers to, “Prepare for a hard landing.” I remember thinking at the time it would have been admirable if the monetary officials could have been so blunt in 2007.
Rich was. Back in the early days of the recovery he wrote, “The recent depression—ask any real economist.” He never confused the height of the markets with the state of the economy. He thought about workers and wages, inequities, rigged systems, and he worked incredibly hard. He was incisive, deep, an awesome singer, and truly hilarious. His humor made it easier to take some of his darker observations. Once he was outlining a dreadful eventuality when suddenly he noted it was odd that we were both laughing. (I’ll leave it to those in his league to cover his fly-fishing abilities.)
And he had a burly Welsh heart. Also a pilot, Rich too would have thought about the boats on the river.
Rich was 55.
In today’s note his closest friend Dave Rosenberg wrote that Rich “managed to squeeze many lives into one short one.” Josh Frankel added a lovely image, his idea for a Bloomberg late night show called “Yammy in his Jammies,” featuring Rich running down, say, the nonfarm payrolls in feety pajamas. Dean Eisen called him open and honest about himself—simple words but hard to do. Josh Rosner, “He measured others, generously, by the kindness in their hearts, but few could have truly been measured against his own.”
We loved Richard.
I dreamed last night that a mighty redwood fell in the forest.
I lost a good friend and we all lost a great economist and great man this week, Rich Yamarone who was an economist at Bloomberg Intelligence. He will be greatly missed. My tribute to him is this song from George Harrison called Any Road which I know Rich loved. George Harrison – Any Road. The best line of the song, “And if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” Also, I include this quote he put on his Bloomberg page from Coco Chanel, “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” He certainly was.
Wall Street Become A Bit Less Charming – Many of us were deeply saddened last week to learn of the sudden passing of Rich Yamarone at age 55 of complications of a cardiac event. Rich was a key economist at Bloomberg and years ago served as chief economist as Argus Research. Not only was he a brilliant and articulate economist but a witty and talented man.
He was a key feature at Camp Kotok, the celebrated annual meeting of economist and journalists in Maine. He would charmingly debate economic issues into the evening and then reach for his guitar and entertain the crowd with his rich baritone voice.
His resume looked like it was written by a novelist. Economist, raconteur, guitarist, vocalist, opera singer, a ranked athlete, gourmet chef and accomplished pilot.
But, with all that Rich was humble and said he hoped that people saw him as just a kid from Staten Island that they would like to have a beer with. In my case, it was several glasses of Dewars.
In review, I am reminded of the point in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar where, upon the death of Brutus, Mark Antony says “His life was gentle and the elements so mixed in him that nature might stand up and say to all the world “This was a man!” So was it with Richard. Ave Atque vale (Hail and Farewell)
Yammy at Camp Kotok
Rich Yamarone, Bloomberg TV