In Memoriam: Mary B. Maguire

CAA Member Mentored Many at Chase Manhattan

Mary B. Maguire, who spent her whole professional career at Chase Manhattan Bank and was one of the first women to achieve the rank of Senior Vice President, died on April 22, 2009 at her home in Greenwich Village.  She and her husband, James J. Maguire, also had a home in Rhinebeck.

A Lady of the Holy Sepulchre, Dame of Malta and Lady of St. Gregory, "Mary B" loved her family, friends, Church, country and Irish heritage. She served many diverse organizations, including as a trustee and trustee emeritus of the Marymount School  and  St. John's University, as a member of the Economic Advisory Board of the Prime Minister of Ireland since its inception, and as a member of the Disciplinary Committee, First Department, Appellate Division, NYS Supreme Court. She was appointed to the Vatican Papal Commission on Justice and Peace, and was a past member of the Department of Labor, ERISA Board.

Mary B received her B.A. and M.B.A. from St. John's University. She was awarded honorary doctorates from Marymount University and St. John's University; and attended Trinity College, Dublin.

Memorial donations may be made to any of the diverse organization Mary B was a part of throughout her life. To sign the online register, please visit

Chase Alumni wishing to contribute a remembrance should send it to

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From Debbie Duncan: I first met “Mary B” early in my career at Chase when she was already a formidable presence on the trading floor and managed the Bank’s investment portfolios.  This was at a time when there were not many women in such businesses and I remember thinking that she must be truly exceptional to be a Senior Vice President in such a position.  In fact, she was one of the first Chase women to be promoted to that level which helped to open up the opportunity for those who followed.
     Mary spent her entire professional career at Chase and, at various times, managed the investment portfolios, oversaw the pension plans and led product development in asset management.  Over the years, we worked together often and I came to understand what an extraordinary person Mary actually was.  She was extremely committed to Chase and passionate about her work.  More than anyone I know, Mary loved “the markets” and was always looking to profit from them and to find the next great deal for Chase. She had an incredible network of contacts throughout the world.  While she detested making speeches, her advice and counsel were often sought, because she would respond in a straightforward and forthright manner even though she knew the answer wasn’t what the person wanted to hear.  She had extremely high standards and expected others to act in the same manner, which was sometimes a challenge to those around her.  For many people, her example helped them to shape their own successful careers. 
     Mary’s interests and activities extended far beyond Chase and included the Economic and Advisory Board in Ireland and the Vatican Papal Commission on Justice and Peace.  She was a Trustee of St. John’s University and Marymount School.  She was extremely devoted to her family, particularly her husband, Jimmy, and her friends.  Many of us were the fortunate beneficiaries of her generous spirit in many ways.  For example, when we traveled to Rome or Ireland, Mary would arrange special tours and meetings that became the highlight of our trips.
     The last time I saw Mary, we laughed and talked for hours, including, of course, about the markets and the latest opportunities.  She had a terrific sense of humor and always appreciated a good joke.  I feel privileged to have been her colleague and friend.

From Leon Desbrow: Mary was a Chase “character” -- having joined the Treasury department very young and staying at the firm for all her career.  She was someone that leadership turned to for a number of special projects, feeling that she would be able to frame the issues and be trusted to create the appropriate structure.  While we worked together, she initiated managing the investment portfolio for international markets, establishing a high yield and bank stock trading unit and taking charge of Chase’s defined benefit and contribution plans.  Throughout her career Mary arrived early in a field and her efforts and successes in finding solutions in uncharted waters were her hallmark.
     Mary had the most extensive network of friends and acquaintances on the street of anyone in the firm.  She knew what was being planned not just at Chase but, it always seemed, at all the broker-dealers in New York.  Over the years she had built up this network by offering a helping hand at a time of need, and people did not forget this.  She would throw herself into finding solutions for anyone where she felt they had been unjustly treated and deserved another chance.
     This was no more evident than during the Chase/Chemical merger. Roles and responsibilities were going to change radically, as was the budget available to her. But she checked and rechecked with all her staff to ensure that the final decisions on who was going to leave and who would stay reflected as closely as possible the desires and motivations of each and every one of us.  Not everyone saw this caring side of Mary in the hurley burley of the daily market gyrations, but with reflection they will see she always demonstrated this significant caring for people.
     Her support for those less fortunate than her was most evident the work that she undertook for her ancestral home, Ireland,  and the Catholic Church and many of its institutions.  She was a founding supporter of the Irish Financial Services Center that did so much to develop the Irish economy and was instrumental in persuading Chase to be an early participant.  The Church honored her for the work on the Justice and Peace commission where she stood up not only for the rights of women, but also for the importance of capitalism in financing social development. She was always ready to take on new assignments, and when St John’s asked her to help establish a business school at Vilnius University in Lithuania, she responded with much planning and many visits.
     Mary’s last few years have been wracked with undeserved sickness. She should have been allowed many years of tranquility in the house she and Jimmy were building for their retirement in their beloved Rhinebeck.  It was not to be, and her good humor, her concern for others and her bright world perspective will be missed by her family and many friends.


From Sri Sankaran: I was saddened to read the news about Mary.  I had joined Chase in April of 1983 and worked on the same floor as her. We were never really introduced but had passed a each other a few times in the hallways on the way to the trading floor.
     For reasons that I no longer even remember, I had arrived to work one day around 5:30 am. I saw Mary in the hallway around that time.
     I left the bank around 6 pm one evening, got to the lobby and realized that I had lost my wallet. I went back up to the 35th floor to look for it around my desk.  Alas, I had no luck finding it there.
     I had no cash with me and was looking at the prospect of walking back to my apartment on East 72nd Street.  I decided to check trash bags near the freight elevators to see if my wallet had accidently landed there.
     I met Mary on my way there and she asked if anything was wrong.  I told her of the situation. Without hesitation, she reached into her purse and handed me three ten dollar bills and told me to get on home. The power of her random of act of kindness to a stranger lives with me to this day.


From Corn Forrence: I worked for Mary B in the Portfolio in the late 1970's and can't tell you what was more memorable - Mary B or the level of interest rates.  Those were fun days and I'm still married to the bond salesman from the dealership, Peter Forrence.  We used to visit Mary and Jimmy in Rhinebeck when they first bought the Astor place.  Peter even shot a woodchuck in the field with Mary's old rifle.  Seems like yesterday.