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Remembering Alan Gersten

Former NYFWA president and longtime member Alan Gersten passed away on March 17 in New York City at age 72, following a lengthy battle against leukemia. Mr. Gersten, a former president of the New York Financial Writer’s Association from 1999 to 2000, has an impressive journalism career that spanned decades. He was a reporter and editor for varied publications such as the Omaha World-Herald, the Rocky Mountain News, the Miami News, United Press International, the Journal of Commerce, Bridge News, Project Finance International (PFI) and Thomson Reuters. At the time of his death, he was the Latin America Correspondent for PFI. He was also a published author of the 2001 non-fiction book “A Conspiracy of Indifference: The Raoul Wallenberg Story,” about the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews before being arrested by the Soviets and who ultimately disappeared. The book remains available today on Mr. Gersten was a 1977 Knight-Bagehot Fellowship recipient to Columbia University’s graduate school of business, where he studied economics for one year. He was also a winner of the prestigious Gerald Loeb Award honoring distinguished business and financial journalism, given for his series of articles about his investment experiences, “Wall Street Casino: Gambling With Someone Else's Money.” Started in 1979, when the Rocky Mountain News provided $10,000 for investment for the series, it was prescient -- given the market's collapse in the 2008 financial crisis. The series lasted for five years.

A native of Chicago, he was born into his passion for all Chicago- based sports, especially his beloved Chicago Cubs and Bears. He regularly attended at least one Cubs game, home or away, and claimed to be a Die-Hard Cub Fan since 1946.
Mr. Gersten was also a history buff and avid traveler to Latin America and numerous other global destinations with his wife, Marjorie, though while on a trip they preferred the pseudonyms Irving and Zelda under whose names they produced several fun and memorable home movies. He graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a B.A. in Communications. Before starting his journalism career, Mr. Gersten served in the U.S. Army where he taught Journalism. In addition to his wife, he is survived by a sister, Norma Berlin of Chicago. Remembered by his colleagues and friends as kind and a gentleman, Mr. Gersten was a consummate professional, interested in everything and everyone, and possessed a dry, quick wit. He was the rare reporter who could bring both humor and clarity to business journalism. A private memorial will be held in Chicago with friends and family after which his wife will visit sentimental Chicago spots in his memory, bringing his extraordinary life full circle.