Joseph C. Dekat passed away yesterday at the age of 64. Joe was the individual who first hired me in the financial services industry, taking me on as a portfolio assistant when I was still in college. That Joe hired me then was a leap of faith on his part; at the time, I was more interested in economics than personal finance, and I had only the most rudimentary of skill sets when it came to asset allocation and portfolio modeling.
Thankfully, Joe was a patient teacher as well as employer, and he is chiefly responsible for my successes within the industry, not so much because of what he taught me, but rather because of what he allowed me to learn. Because he knew that the only way for me to grow intellectually was for me to assume more responsibilities at the firm, Joe challenged me to overcome my fear of making mistakes. He was that rare employer who not only allowed, but also encouraged me to tackle complex assignments on my own initiative, as he recognized that the transition from purely theoretical to critical thinking is made possible only through the process of continuous application.
He was a man of many talents, and certainly he was also one of great generosity. He will be missed.