Ruth Gottesman Husband: A Billionaire Philanthropist and Friend of Warren Buffett

Ruth Gottesman, the chair of the board of trustees of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AECOM), recently gained attention for her unprecedented $1 billion donation to the medical school, marking the largest single gift ever bestowed upon a medical institution in the country.

Expressing gratitude to her late husband, David Gottesman, for entrusting her with the funds, she considered it an honor to make such a significant contribution. But who was David Gottesman, and what defined his life? Here are some key aspects and achievements of Ruth Gottesman’s spouse.

Early Life

David Gottesman was born in 1928 in New York City, the offspring of Hungarian Jewish immigrants. Raised in the Bronx, he attended DeWitt Clinton High School, excelling particularly in math and science. In 1950, he graduated from Harvard College with a degree in economics before serving a two-year stint in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

In 1950, he married Ruth Levy, whom he had met in 1948. They resided in Rye, New York, and were blessed with three children: two sons and a daughter.

Career in Business

David Gottesman initiated his career in 1953 at the investment firm of Loeb, Rhoades & Co. as a research analyst, eventually ascending to the roles of partner and director. Renowned for his stock-picking acumen and steadfast investment philosophy, he co-founded First Manhattan Co. in 1964, a financial services company specializing in investment management and advisory services.

Serving as chairman and CEO until 2019, he retired to assume the position of chairman emeritus while retaining involvement as a senior advisor and major shareholder. Notably, Gottesman forged a close friendship and long-term investment relationship with Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, after attending a lecture by Buffett at Columbia Business School in 1962.

He became one of Berkshire Hathaway’s largest individual shareholders, eventually joining its board of directors in 2004 and serving until his retirement in 2020 at the age of 92. Additionally, Gottesman co-founded Diversified Retailing in 1970 with Buffett and Stewart Horejsi, a company that owned various retail chains, including Borsheim’s, Nebraska Furniture Mart, and Helzberg Diamonds.

Philanthropic Endeavors

David Gottesman demonstrated generous philanthropy, supporting diverse causes and organizations, particularly in education, health, and Jewish culture. Together with his wife Ruth, he donated millions to numerous institutions, including AECOM, Barnard College, Columbia University, Harvard University, the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the UJA-Federation of New York.

 Noteworthy contributions included a $25 million donation to AECOM in 2008, establishing the Ruth L. and David S. Gottesman Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research, the Ruth L. Gottesman Clinical Skills Center, and the Faculty Scholar in Epigenetics.

Moreover, David bequeathed $1 billion in Berkshire Hathaway stock to Ruth in his will, empowering her to allocate it as she deemed fit. In February 2024, Ruth directed the entire sum to AECOM, ensuring perpetual tuition-free education for future students—a historic and transformative act hailed across the nation.


David Gottesman passed away in September 2022 at the age of 94, leaving behind his wife Ruth, three children, and nine grandchildren. Remembered as a brilliant yet humble investor, a loyal friend, a devoted spouse and parent, and a generous philanthropist, he left a legacy of wealth, wisdom, and kindness that will endure for generations.

Ruth, his steadfast partner, honored his memory by making an extraordinary contribution to the medical school they both cherished.


David Gottesman, Ruth Gottesman’s husband, was a billionaire philanthropist and a close associate of Warren Buffett, characterized by a remarkable life and career. His success as an esteemed investor and co-founder of First Manhattan Co., alongside his significant contributions to philanthropy, exemplify his enduring impact on society.

Through his profound generosity and unwavering commitment to education and healthcare, David Gottesman leaves behind a legacy of compassion and benevolence that will continue to inspire and uplift countless lives for years to come.

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