Excerpts: “Memorial Remarks for Robert Pirie.”

  • Bob Pirie and I met only five or six times a year, even more rarely for one-on-one conversations. Yet he was a friend of a very special kind—ever more important during the summing up phase of my life. We go through life, it has been said, looking for hidden treasure—only to discover that there is no hidden treasure and that, in the end, friendship is the chief treasure left to us.
  • Bob provided such a refuge in his home and his person for me and, I suspect, for many of us in this room. There was something singular and elevating about this lawyer-banker-bibliophile who, even at the pinnacle of the business world, found solace in literary communion with John Donne. In a world of sound bites and a 24-hour news cycle—in which he operated fluidly and with every professional success—Bob chose to seek out and preserve, painstakingly, the record of an earlier period’s flourishing of human creativity. And he shared his passion and his sense of wonder at the world with his astonishingly large and catholic circle of friends.
  • Bob’s political agenda and mine rarely touched. I was most likely to hear from him in turbulent periods. He would be neither hortatory nor nostalgic. Bob conveyed—without ever being this explicit—that there was an underlying congruence transcending the controversies of the day, and that there were topics to be pursued whose exploration might benefit, perhaps amuse, or even uplift us.

Source: Henry Kissinger