GREENWICH, Conn. – Fred Nives, 94, of Greenwich, died on Wednesday, March 4.
He was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1921.
In 1938, at the age of 17, he walked from Austria to Belgium at night, while hiding in the woods during the day, to escape from the Nazis after Kristallnacht.
After immigrating to the U.S. in 1940, he served in the U.S. Army from 1942-1946 in Europe. He was reunited with his father, Bernhard, and brother Ernest at war's end, but his mother, Roza, died in Auschwitz.
Nives was an avid sportsman and relished his early ski adventures in Davos and then his chalet in Meribel, France. His love of athletics included tennis, swimming and his treadmill. He was a voracious reader, classical music concertgoer and opera lover, especially Wagner. In his youth, he piloted his plane from Paris all over Europe, and ran his boat along the French Riviera to the Greek Isles.
As an accomplished horseman for 50 years, he and his wife, Donna, rode in Hunter-Pace events. In events where he was not riding, he became an official timer at the finish lines. He was also the treasurer of the Greenwich Riding and Trails Association.
Nives started a foreign currency service business in the 1950s and then a consumer finance company, which was sold in 1963 to become Sterling Bancorp in New York. An accomplished Wall Street investor with a seat on the New York Stock Exchange until 1969, he was a general partner in investment partnership Apollo Associates until 1974. He left Wall Street to start Omni Financial Corporation, a very successful consumer financial company, in the early 70s.
He met the love of his life, Donna, at the age of 37 in New York City and they married shortly thereafter. They shared a love of animals, which became a big part of their life together. In addition to their equestrian activities, they founded the 30+ year old Animal Rescue Group "Adopt-A-Dog" in Greenwich and Armonk, N.Y. They also funded the Bronx Zoo's "Fred and Donna Nives African Wild Dog Pavillion."
Nives is survived by his wife; and Julie Nives Schwartzman; Dan and Zoe Schwartzman; Miriam and Marissa Nives; Vivian and Richard Van Buren; and Annie, Jimmy, James and Nicholas Angellino;
Funeral services were held at Temple Sholom, Greenwich.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests any donations be made to Adopt A Dog, 849 Lake Avenue, Greenwich, CT 06831 or Center for Hearing and Communication, 50 Broadway, New York, NY 10004.
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