In Memoriam: Eshagh Shaoul, 82
Half His 24 Years at Chase Spent Overseas
Eshagh Shaoul, who spent half his 24-year career at Chase Manhattan overseas, died at his home in Westminster West, VT, on October 28, 2023. He was 82 and had suffered from progressive frontotemporal dementia.
Shaoul was born in Tehran, Iran in 1941, the fourth of seven children. He grew up in Sarechal, the Jewish ghetto there. At a young age he showed musical aptitude, and his first music teacher sent him to study with a violin master, Abolhassan Sabah. He became a lifelong violinist, bringing joy to all who heard him.
In 1959, at the age of 18, Shaoul left Iran for America. He studied English and then earned Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD (in International Political Economy) at The George Washington University. As the first of his family to arrive in the United States, he was responsible for his family’s subsequent immigration. First he brought his older brother to the United States for life-saving heart surgery; then his two other brothers, his two sisters and his mother out of Iran to New York, where they all settled.
He left a life of academia in 1972 to begin a career as a financial executive. Shaoul’s 24 years at Chase Manhattan Bank as a credit risk executive and country manager included 12 years of living and working overseas. When the family was living in Hong Kong, Singapore, The Ivory Coast and Tokyo, his wife, Rosalyn, taught and his children attended international schools. Shaoul was an active member of the Chase Alumni Association and instrumental in organizing a 2018 gathering that drew 28 alumni who had served in Japan.
After returning to New York in 1990 and taking early retirement from Chase in 1995, Shaoul worked for 10 years at AIG in New York, managing credit risk for their international portfolio. Throughout his financial career he never forgot to play his violin, always carrying it with him wherever he went around the world.
In 1987, during their time in Japan, the Shaouls bought their home in Westminster West, VT. After using it for weekends and vacations, they retired there full-time in 2014. Once settled in Westminster West as a full-time “flatlander,” Shaoul led the Windham World Affairs Council as chairperson for five years, recruiting speakers to present on topics of significance to the community.
On the rocky ledge that their home was built on, Eshagh created an indoor “Japanese Garden". On the empty mudflat they found in front of the home, he landscaped lawns and created a botanical oasis featuring burning bush and Japanese maple. As he became increasingly concerned with interfaith harmony and peaceful coexistence in the world, Shaoul created a installation known as the “Temple of Love” on the hill behind the house. It includes artifacts from 11 different cultures and religions as a welcome to people of all backgrounds and faiths.
In recent years he took daily walks, making five-mile rounds of the neighborhood as “The Mayor of Happy Valley” and continued to play his violin. He played Persian classical music, gypsy music and a variety of pieces of his choice, including Kol Nidre and Ave Maria. As this exertion recently became difficult, then impossible, he enjoyed being surrounded by his family and listening to music in the midst of his gardens.
Among his survivors are Rosalyn, his wife of 59 years, their children, Josef, Cyrus and Sara, and five grandchildren.
A memorial will be held in New York City at a later date, to be announced.