Obituary: Eliot N. Vestner

July 24, 2020
By Olivia Cameron

Eliot N. Vestner Jr. passed away on July 10, 2020 in Boca Grande, following a two-year battle with sarcoma. He is survived by his wife Louisa; two children, Alice-Lee Vestner and Charles F. Vestner; two step-sons, Donald F. Cutler IV and Q.A .Shaw Cutler; and five granddaughters.
Just three months before passing, Eliot published “Ragtime in the White House,” (2020) a biography of President William McKinley that was the fruit of 10 years of research and writing. It was a last milestone in a life focused on learning and achievement.
Eliot was born in Bronxville, New York in 1935 to Priscilla Fuller Vestner and Eliot Vestner Sr. After growing up in Bronxville, he spent three years in school in Heidelberg, Germany, where Eliot Sr. was stationed, before moving back to the United States. A passionate student, Eliot graduated from Phillips Academy Andover and Amherst College. He then earned a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Michigan and a J.D. degree from Columbia University. After practicing law for several years at Debevoise, Plimpton, and McLean in New York, he worked for five years in the New York Banking Department and was ultimately appointed Superintendent of Banks in New York. There he helped steer the Urban Development Corporation through a financial crisis in 1975 that enabled it to continue to fund and operate low-income housing.   
Eliot went on to become general counsel of the Irving Trust Company and then a senior executive with Bank of Boston.
After retiring in 2000, Eliot wrote “Meet Me Under the Clock at Grand Central,” (2010), a memoir of his parents and their family histories. He subsequently spent the last decade of his life researching and writing about William McKinley, whom he admired for his inclusive leadership and progressive stance on race relations.
Eliot loved travel, golf, reading and shelling on the beaches of Boca Grande. He was an accomplished piano player and chef and produced both a CD and a cookbook for friends and family to enjoy. His passion for life, thirst for knowledge and sense of humor will be remembered by those who had the good fortune to know him. 
With COVID-19, we’re having a “nontraditional farewell.“ Donations for “BLANKET WARMERS” can be made in memory of Eliot Vestner to the Massachusetts General Hospital, Development Office, Suite 540, Attn: Josh Kaplan, 125 Nashua St., Boston, MA 02114. At $5,000 for each blanket warmer unit, we can provide warmth for many patients during these challenging times.