Irwin Kellner, a distinguished economist and longtime resident of Port Washington North, died at 83 on July 31 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, his family announced.
Kellner was born on Oct. 4, 1938, in Brooklyn. He met his wife, Ann, at a dance in 1958; the two got married in 1961.
Together, they raised two children: Lori and Shari. He later became a grandfather to Sam, Marli and Olivia. He also had a strong relationship with his son-in-law Jeff; the two would frequently go golfing and discuss the stock market.
Initially, Kellner intended to pursue a career in automotive design. He transitioned towards economics after that didn’t work out.
He earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in economics from Brooklyn College, as well as a doctor of philosophy degree in economics from the New School for Social Research.
His daughter Lori said that despite switching from wanting to pursue art to finance, he never lost his creative side. She added he wasn’t like other people in his field.
“He loved meeting people,” she said. “He loved talking about [economics] and he made it easy to understand and that was the best part.”
Kellner had a successful career as a financial columnist and economist. During which he was published, cited and made TV appearances on CNN, CNBC, ABC, News12 and other networks.
He worked as an editor at Businessweek magazine; as a research analyst for Philip Morris Inc.; as chair of economics at Hofstra University; as president of Kellner Economics; and as an economist with Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company and its successors as they merged with Chemical Bank and Chase Manhattan Bank.
But, more important than his work, was his family. Lori said he tried to support and be present for his children and grandchildren every chance he had. She said being a grandfather was Kellner’s greatest role.
“Every morning here, even when he when he was sick, he was constantly talking about the kids,” she said. “Just telling stories from when they were little — that was his life. He was a good family man.”
He also had a close relationship with his father-in-law after losing his father when he was young. They both had a strong passion for professional wrestling. As Kellner made more connections, the two met wrestling legends like Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan and Freddie Blassie during monthly shows at Madison Square Garden.
“It’s funny, how you can think somebody is a serious finance guy but his thing was professional wrestling, he loved golf and his grandchildren,” said Lori. “He was a mush.”
He was also devoted to his community. In June, the Port Washington North Board of Trustees honored Kellner for his five decades of service on the village’s planning board.
He joined Port North’s planning board on April 3, 1972, and served until the end of his term in April 2022.
Kellner helped to transform the village into what it is now, according to Mayor Robert Weitzner.
“Now, therefore, be it proclaimed that Irwin Kellner be honored this day and henceforth for the wisdom and good counsel he so generously shared with the village of Port Washington North for an unprecedented 50 years,” he read to attendees.
Kellner died peacefully at home in his sleep. His wife Ann, children Lori and Shari, son-in-law Jeff and grandchildren Sam, Marli and Olivia survive him.
His family asks anyone who wishes to make a donation in his memory to do so to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research.