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Lauren Bessette: 1965-1999

Lauren Bessette, financial executive, dies in Kennedy plane crash

By Brigitte Greenberg, Associated Press, 07/19/99

GREENWICH, Conn. - Lauren G. Bessette, a financial executive at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter with a passion for Asia, was presumed dead after the plane in which she was a passenger crashed off Cape Cod.

Ms. Bessette, 34, was killed Friday night, along with pilot John F. Kennedy Jr. and her sister Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, Kennedy's wife.

Kennedy and his wife were flying Friday to Massachusetts in Kennedy's single-engine plane for a family wedding in Hyannis Port. They planned to stop first on the island of Martha's Vineyard to drop off Ms. Bessette.

Ms. Bessette, who had worked for the investment house for about six years, was promoted in December from vice president to a principal. She specialized in Asian financial markets and worked in Hong Kong until about a year ago.

The atmosphere was somber today at Morgan Stanley in New York.

''Everyone's quiet, kind of keeping to themselves,'' employee Raynard Edwards said outside the company's building in midtown Manhattan. ''They're in shock.''

''We lost a co-worker and to lose a co-worker is like losing a family member,'' said Edwards, although he didn't know Ms. Bessette.

Those who did recalled a friendly person who was good at her work.

''She's a wonderful person. She was very dedicated and professional,'' said Greg Neumann, a former co-worker.

Ms. Bessette and her twin sister, Lisa Ann, were the first children born to Ann and William Bessette, an architectural engineer. Carolyn, 33, was 14 months younger than the twins.

The couple divorced when the girls were young, and their mother, a teacher and administrator, remarried a few years later. Ms. Bessette and her sisters were raised in Greenwich by their mother and stepfather, Dr. Richard Freeman, an orthopedic surgeon.

A 1982 graduate of Greenwich High School, Ms. Bessette was a member of the all-girls service club known as the Signettes.

She graduated from Hobart and William Smith College in upstate New York in 1986. Patrick McGuire, her college faculty adviser, described her as ''a very bright, articulate, and very confident young woman.''

Ms. Bessette majored in economics and went on to hold several financial market positions on Wall Street after graduation. She later earned her master's degree in business administration from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, McGuire said.

''I'm not surprised that she was doing well,'' McGuire said. ''She was exceptional. She was a very good student and a very pleasant person to be around. ... She has a permanent place in my mind and in my heart. That's for sure.''


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