‘He Was a Beautiful Soul’: Friends and Coworkers Remember Devon Dalio, Bridgewater Founder’s Eldest Son
Nearly a week after his passing, those who knew him well share memories of the 42-year-old who died in a car crash on December 17.
Coworkers, friends, and Bridgewater Associates employees past and present are mourning the death of Devon Dalio, a private equity investor, longtime co-CEO of the Dalio Family Office, Dalio Philanthropies board member, and son of the famed hedge fund’s founder.
Devon Dalio, 42, died when his car struck a storefront and caught fire in Greenwich, Connecticut on the afternoon of Thursday, December 17. The cause of the crash is unknown.
Bruce Zimmerman, longtime chief investment officer for the University of Texas Investment Management System and current CIO at the Dalio Family Office, worked alongside Devon Dalio since joining the fund in July 2019.
“Devon spent about 50 percent of his time with me, on the investment side of DFO, as a member of the investment team,” Zimmerman remembered Tuesday. “My first impressions when I met him: Kind. Passionate. Inquisitive. Generous. Loved his family, his parents, his brothers, his wife, his child. A loving man.”
“Barbara and Ray raised four fine sons,” he continued. “All admirable men. No sense of entitlement, driven to contribute, principled people. It may sound trite, but they are.”
In addition to his role at the Dalio Family Office, Devon Dalio co-founded P-Squared Management Enterprises in 2017, a private equity firm focused on healthcare. Richard Parker, Dalio’s co-founder in the venture, spoke of his friend’s “entrepreneurial itch that he wanted to scratch.”
“I met him in 2007 when he was considering acquiring a small business,” he said, noting that he initially acted as a “mentor and a teacher” to Dalio.
After Devon Dalio’s eight years at the Dalio Family Office, the two joined forces to start P-Squared. “From our [earlier] time working together, I knew I liked him, that he’s super smart, and I knew his agenda for success was in the right place,” Parker recalled.
The firm’s focus, Parker said, “aligned with Devon’s passion for longevity and healthcare, for not just extending lifespan, but health-span.”
“He was a beautiful soul,” Parker said. “An unbelievable human being. When I’ve introduced people to Devon, they generally have a preconceived notion of what a Devon Dalio is going to be like. To a man, every single person has called me afterwards, saying the exact same words: ‘I cannot believe how nice he is.’ I always told them, ‘I told you so’.”
“Obviously Ray and Barbara have done a significant job,” Parker said. “Devon felt an enormous responsibility to carry the family name with grace and dignity — and he did, while remaining down to earth, honest, sincere, compassionate, and empathetic. All attributes you want in your boy.”
Those characteristics showcased themselves in Devon Dalio’s push for broccoli sprouts, of all things.
“One of the things he learned from his work with scientists at John Hopkins and elsewhere was the importance of a certain substance in broccoli sprouts called sulforaphane,” said Gretchen Wagner, the chief operating officer at the Dalio Philanthropies, where Devon Dalio sat on the board. “Doctors have been studying its potential anti-cancer properties. Devon was not an expert, but he was sharing what he was learning with those around him. He was so enthusiastic, and so eager to share, and so much wanted to help, and it seemed like an easy thing to do, that it spawned a whole movement of us who are now eating broccoli sprouts.”
Former employees of Bridgewater, where Devon Dalio worked earlier in his career, also mourned his passing.
“The guy was a sweetheart. That’s not a term you use for most sons of billionaires, but literally Devon was a sweet guy, not a bad bone in his body. Just a very soft and good hearted man,” said one long-time staffer, who asked for anonymity out of respect for the Dalio family.
Ray Dalio announced his son’s death on Twitter late Friday.
“It is with great pain that I am sharing with you that my 42 year old son was killed in a car crash yesterday,” Dalio tweeted. “My family and I are mourning and processing and would prefer to be incommunicado for the time being. We know that the terrible pain we are feeling has been and continues to be felt by so many others so our sympathies go out to them. May God be with you and may you cherish your blessings, especially at this time of year.”
Devon Dalio leaves behind a wife and daughter.