Joseph Aresty

Obituary of Joseph Aresty

Passed away on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 of a recent stroke. He was 95 and had been married to Catherine (Kitty) Fortuin Aresty for 60 years.

Joseph J. Aresty was born on May 6, 1922, in Rochester, New York. He was the son of Juda Joseph and Emma Nahmias Aresty who had emigrated from Monastir, in the Ottoman Empire some years before. Raised in a Sephardic home with eight siblings in Rochester, New York, he went on to graduate from Benjamin Franklin High School.  Mr. Aresty later graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1943. He served in the United States Army Air Corps as a staff sergeant in England in World War II where he flew on reconnaissance missions in the European Theatre.

Following the war, Mr. Aresty began a career in retailing at L. Bamberger & Company in Newark, NJ. Shortly thereafter he was transferred to the parent company, R.H. Macy Co. at Herald Square in New York, NY. There Mr. Aresty was a buyer for a number of ladies’ and men’s apparel products. He met his future wife, Catherine (Kitty) Fortuin who was a fashion coordinator at Macy’s.  Before leaving Macy’s, Mr. Aresty had been Vice President of Men’s Accessories. 

In 1962, Mr. Aresty joined Alfred Dunner Inc., a fledgling ladies apparel manufacturing company as an equity partner. Mr. Aresty was joined by his two brothers, Gerald and Jerome, at Alfred Dunner in the late 1960s. Together, they built Alfred Dunner into one of the largest privately-owned apparel manufacturers in the United States. In the early 1980s, a son from each of the three brothers joined the company and went on to become partners. The business continues to flourish to this day and has expanded with several new nationally-recognized brands.

In his later years, Mr. Aresty and his wife founded the Catherine & Joseph Aresty Foundation. Through the foundation they have made many significant charitable contributions primarily in the field of education. Mr. Aresty underwrote the establishment of the Aresty Institute of Executive Education at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.  Mr. Aresty also served on the Wharton Board of Overseers and was the first recipient of the Wharton School’s Dean’s Medal for his many years of commitment to the school. His efforts at Wharton have included creating the Aresty Chair of Strategic Management, the Joseph J. Aresty Endowed Professorship of Leadership and Change Management, the Julian Aresty Professorship, and the Joseph Aresty Endowed Scholarship Fund.

Joseph J. Aresty also provided leadership grants to the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California where he survived two battles with cancer. These gifts included the Catherine and Joseph Aresty Conference Center, the Catherine and Joseph Aresty Department of Urology, the Catherine and Joseph Aresty Chair for Urological Research and Laboratory, and the Catherine and Joseph Aresty Urological Floor. At the University of Rochester, Mr. Aresty established the Helen Aresty Fine and Irving Fine Professorship in Neurology. At Harvard University/Beth Israel Deaconess MedicalCenter he endowed the Victor J. Aresty Chair in Oncology.  These gifts honored two of his siblings who had untimely deaths.

Mr. Aresty also provided great support over many years through his beloved wife for the restoration of the John Jay House in Rye, New York. There he established and endowed the Jay Heritage Center at the Jay Estate.

Through the Catherine & Joseph Aresty Foundation, Mr. Aresty provided substantial funding to many education organizations throughout the New York metropolitan area. Major gifts have been made to Prep for Prep, Planned Parenthood of NYC, Harlem Academy, Citizen’s Committee for Children, the Community Resource Center of Mamaroneck, and many others. Asafirst generation college graduate who came from very modest means, Mr. Aresty devoted his later years to helping the underserved receive a quality education. Through the foundation he participated as a member of both the Donor’s Education Collaborative and the Early Childhood Partners of NYC, two pooled fund collectives committed to seeing that all New Yorkers receive equal and fair educational opportunities.

In addition to his beloved wife, Mr. Aresty is survived by his son, Peter and daughter-in-law Rosanne, his son Steven and five grandchildren, Skye, Ruby, Lark, Charles and Eve. Mr. Aresty was pre-deceased by his siblings: Julian Aresty, Ann Aresty Camhi, Esther Aresty Granite, Victor Aresty, Maurice Aresty, Helen Aresty Fine, Gerald Aresty, and Jerome Aresty.

Funeral Services will be held in Larchmont, NY. Burial in Britton Road Cemetery.