Whether scaling Mt. Fuji or taking paternity leave for the birth of his two children, Lauren, 12, and Lachlan, 10, David Berray ’84 had boundless energy.
“He is an interesting balance of being a studious, hard-working person who likes to play hard as well,” said close friend Sara Cavendish ’84.
A decade after Berray’s death, friends and family try to preserve his memory for his children, who were almost two and an infant at the time of the 9/11 attack, through a memory box and an education fund.
“Each friend wrote a letter to the children about what kind of man their father was,” explained Berray’s mother, Vera Berray. “They haven’t read it yet, but maybe this year on their birthdays,” she added.
Several of Berray’s friends also set up a David M. Berray Children’s Fund to collect contributions towards his children’s education, David Stack ’79 said.
Berray’s widow, Alison Wheeler Berray Robinson, said she and her husband Alex Robinson — also a friend of Berray’s — and Vera Berray constantly tell the children stories of Berray.
“We talk about [their stepfather] as ‘Daddy’ and David as ‘Daddy angel,’” Vera Berray said. “He is still a part of our lives.”
After graduating from Yale with a degree in economics, Berray earned an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business, worked for Bankers Trust in Hong Kong, took time to pursue a master’s degree from M.I.T’s Sloan School of Management and ultimately became the executive vice president and chief operations officer of MoneyLine, a financial technology company.
Although working for Bankers Trust later took him and his wife as far as Hong Kong for five years, his parents visited him every year and the entire family often traveled together through Thailand and Australia.
“He shared his life with his father and I so much,” Vera Berray said.
In 1993, when Berray was still working with Bankers Trust, he went to the World Trade Center to pick up film at the very moment that the building’s underground garage was truck-bombed by Islamic terrorists. His mother said he told her he “escaped the big one.”
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Berray was attending a seminar at Windows on the World, a restaurant on the top floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, to hear a friend speak. He was 39 years old.