For 65 years, Ted and Themis Dimon had the kind of relationship poems and plays and movies were written about, requiring suspension of disbelief because it was so unbelievable. But true.
Children of Greek immigrants, he became one of the most successful Wall Street brokers, staying at the job until 85, almost until he died from cancer on June 5 – in the arms of his wife, who died 22 hours later the next day, at 84. Their family was with them.
His was a prominent name in New York and in financial circles, for his own career and as the father of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Chairman and Chief Executive James Dimon, who said he learned about the arcane business from the source – his dad.
Dimon later said that he learned a great deal about the brokerage industry ‘across the kitchen table,’” according to Last Man Standing, a biography of Jamie by Duff McDonald. They also shared a love of list-making.
Ted Dimon became a stockbroker at Shearson Hammill in 1953, initially as an assistant for his father, a year after his marriage to Themis Anastasia Kalos, taking their homeland with them too.
The second son of Panos Dimon (Papademitrou), an emigre from Smyrna, Turkey and Theonia Mylonas, Ted was born on January 3, 1931 and grew up in New York City.
He learned the financial ropes fast and became a well-known advisor, even dispensing his expertise for free to non-profit organizations, and for having built a team that stayed with him for many years.
He also served as a Trustee on the Board of the St Luke’s Orchestra Society and the School for Strings.
Themis Anastasia Kalos was born on August 26, 1931, the third daughter of Jimmy Kalos and Iphegnia Smyrnis, both emigres from the Greek Peloponnese.
When her children left for college, Themis completed her Bachelor’s degree at New School and earned her Master’s degree in Psychology at Teachers College.
She volunteered at a pre-school program and served on several boards, including SCAN and the New York Psychoanalytic Institute Foundation.
COMMUTING TO WORK
Ted worked at J.P. Morgan for the last several years where his son was boss but they agreed Ted reported to himself.
He had come up the ranks with the humility of his heritage, commuting to Shearson Hammill’s office on 44th Street and Fifth Avenue from East Williston, Long Island in a gray convertible Dodge, the Wall Street Journal reported in a feature obituary of his life. The family moved to Jackson Heights, Queens, instead of picking the tonier place of Manhattan.
Ted Dimon looked in place on Wall Street, dressing impeccably in striped shirts paired with a bold tie picked out by his wife many mornings, survived many of the mergers and acquisitions that washed over Wall Street, the paper reported.
He eventually found himself working for financier Sandy Weill. Ted and Themis became close with Weill and his wife Joan, ultimately introducing Jamie to the former bank titan.
Ted Dimon made an impression on Weill. “Joanie and I liked that Ted didn’t seem like the typical broker—he was intellectual and enjoyed a talent for playing the violin—while Themis was warm and never put on airs,” according to Sandy Weill’s autobiography The Real Deal.
Dimon sometimes played in a quartet with others in the industry after work, Leslie Schwartz, who worked with him for 34 years told the Journal, adding that he also ran around the reservoir in Central Park.
LIKE FATHER …
Jamie Dimon became his father’s boss soon after Shearson was acquired by Citigroup Inc. predecessor Primerica, which had a retail brokerage business: Smith Barney.
Jamie Dimon became Chairman and CEO of Smith Barney in January 1996. The younger Dimon said of his father: “he would never say I was his boss,’” according to the biography.
Ted Dimon stayed on at what would become Citigroup for several years even after Jamie left in 1998. In 2006, Ted Dimon moved to Merrill Lynch, and in November 2009, at 78 years old, he joined the brokerage unit of J.P. Morgan with three other brokers, all women who have worked with him for more than 20 years.
Schwarz said Ted Dimon went for the long-term and was bullish on America. “When Ted started, there were no desktops; the way you got your information was very different … even years later he insisted on having the ticker tape along his computer,” she told the paper. “This business was his lifeblood.”
Besides Jamie and his wife Judy, they are survived by Themis’ sister, Olga; children Peter, Ted Jr. and his wife Tamara; their grandchildren Julia and her husband Joey, Laura, Kara and her fiance, Conor; and their great grandchild Caroline.