Joseph Dear was remembered as a humble man who treated everyone the same, from hedge fund billionaires to restaurant busboys, said those who spoke at a memorial service held at Monday’s investment committee meeting of the $282.9 billion California Public Employees’ Retirement System, Sacramento.
His son, Ben, said his father respected the individual work of all people, regardless of their economic status. “He learned people’s names and remembered them. He took time to personally thank people who worked with him and for him. Even though he was always focused on getting things done, as one of his colleagues who considered him a mentor said, for dad the ‘what’ never overshadowed the ‘who.’”
Also speaking was his daughter, Annie, and his wife, Anne Sheehan, director of corporate governance at the $176.2 billion California State Teachers’ Retirement System, West Sacramento.
Ms. Sheehan said Mr. Dear was very proud of his accomplishments at CalPERS, moving the pension fund through the financial crisis to a more stable place, even though he always gave credit to others. What motivated her husband was CalPERS’ mission of providing retirement benefits to employees, and he always enjoyed talking to retirees at the end of meetings.
Also speaking at the tribute were Rob Feckner, board president, Anne Stausboll, CalPERS CEO, and Henry Jones, a board member.
Mr. Dear started at CalPERS in March 2009, after the pension fund already had lost about 25% of its assets in the financial crisis. Since he started, the pension fund has gained more than $100 billion in assets.