Breaking the Banker Mold
James T. Waters Jr. did not quite fit the mold. "He was definitely out of step with what you would think of as a conservative investment banker," said Steve Watson, a friend since boyhood. "He was generous to the core."
Mr. Waters, 39, had succeeded in the pressurized world of finance, working as a bond trader at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. But he is remembered vividly far from the office.
Over the years, he had volunteered long hours in Republican Party campaigns. He routinely gave food and money to the homeless, and was in constant touch with family and friends, keeping a a battered 1983 Saab for frequent trips from his one-bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side to Litchfield, Conn., his hometown.
"He always brought his baseball glove," said his sister, Karen Smart, whose 13-year- old son was forced to miss Little League over the summer because of a broken ankle. In response, she said, Mr. Waters offered the services of a sports medicine specialist, and drove to Litchfield two weeks before the trade center attack to see the boy return to the field.
Mr. Watson, who in 1990 made an unsuccessful run for one of Connecticut's seats in Congress, said Mr. Waters left his job at the time ‹ at Bear Stearns ‹ and slept on a fold-out couch in Mr. Watson's living room to help run the campaign. "He would drop everything to be at the side of friend," Mr. Watson said.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 12, 2001.