Salvatore D. Zaffino

  • Born: August 11, 1945
  • Died: April 19, 2020
  • Location: Darien, Connecticut

Lawrence Funeral Home

2119 Post Rd
Darien, CT 06820
Tel. (203) 655-6127

Tribute & Message From The Family

Salvatore D. (Sal) Zaffino of Darien, Connecticut, and Newport, Rhode Island, entered eternal life on April 19th, 2020. He was born in New Rochelle, NY, to the late Salvatore and Carmella Zaffino on August 11th, 1945.

Sal served his country as a sergeant in the United States Air Force and was honorably discharged in the late 1960's.

He was a highly respected business leader, spending more than 40 years in many senior positions in the insurance and reinsurance industry. Among these roles, he served as CEO of the Crump Companies in Memphis, TN, CEO of Sedgwick Re of London, England, and Chairman and CEO of Guy Carpenter, a subsidiary of the insurance giant Marsh and McLennan Companies.

A defining moment of Sal's career came on September 11th, 2001, during his tenure as CEO of Guy Carpenter, whose world headquarters were located in Two World Trade Center. He led the company through this enormously difficult period and received several awards globally for his personal contribution to restoring operations.

Sal retired in 2009, after he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. He spent most of his time after retirement enjoying his family, consulting and living in Newport with his wife Marion of 54 years.

Sal was also a committed philanthropist and was involved in several charities. In particular, he established a foundation benefitting HARC, in Hartford, Connecticut, in honor of his late grandson Alex.

Sal's great joy was his family nearly all of whom remain in or near his home in Connecticut. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his son Peter and his wife, Kirsten, of Darien, Connecticut, his daughter Jacqueline Benton and her husband, Garrett, of Simsbury, Connecticut, and his son Jonathan and his wife, Marnie, of New Canaan, Connecticut, and his brother Nicholas Zaffino and his wife, Brenda, of Danbury, Connecticut.

Sal's 11 grandchildren are Gregory Zaffino of New York, NY, Caroline Zaffino and Brian Zaffino of Darien, Connecticut, the late Alex Benton, Anna Benton, and Connor Benton of Simsbury, Connecticut, Matthew Zaffino, Annie Zaffino, Laurel Zaffino, Lindsay Zaffino, and Charlie Zaffino of New Canaan, Connecticut.

A private burial will take place in Simsbury, Connecticut.

In lieu of flowers, for those wishing to honor Sal's memory, donations may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation (Donation Page) in support of continued research to finding a cure for Parkinson's or HARC – Alex Benton Foundation (Donation Page).

Condolence & Memory Journal

Our thoughts and prayers are with Sal Zaffino's entire family during this difficult time. May he rest in peace.

Posted by Gerald Yeung - White Plains, NY   April 26, 2020

Dear Marion, Peter and all of Sal's loving family:

I feel really sad writing this letter. I know you will all miss Sal terribly and it may not be of much comfort, but I offer this to be sure you know that I am but one of many many people who will miss him and who feel genuine affection and obligation to Sal.

I say obligation because I know many, and I am seeing more that I don't know personally say the same things in email traffics as I write this. I know many of those who knew Sal in business feel he gave them opportunities to advance and make their career in an industry he felt had done much for him and offered much for anyone with intelligence, ambition and integrity. He had those qualities and a good thing too because people want to be led by someone they respect and want to see succeed. People wanted to work for Sal. People liked working for Sal. People wanted him to succeed because they knew that meant success for them too. By no means true of all leaders.

Sal often said I was like a dog with a bone. I cannot imagine why. Sal never lost patience with me. He listened, one of his many strengths. In addition to listening, Sal made decisions. Not all leaders do. Sal changed his mind and our direction, when something wasn't working. Few leaders do.

In time of crisis and stress, 911 and Spitzer, when colleagues most needed to see decisiveness, confidence and progress Sal provided it.

I never knew Sal to take the politic way out. I saw him fight with the 44th floor like a dog with a bone many times. I always said I thought he made his decisions based on what was best for clients, colleagues and the company. In no particular order of priority but trying to balance their interests. If you did that well, the company would prosper as would its key constituents. He made many good decision and adjusted course when called for. I tried to emulate that in my career.

So unlike a dog with a bone, I will stop now. Suffice it to say Sal had an impact on my life, and I am glad I knew him as well and as long as I did.

Sal's friend,


Posted by Britt Newhouse - Bonita Springs, FL   April 25, 2020

Dear Marion and family
So sorry to read of Sal's passing. He was such a good man.wendell had some real estate deals with Sal and was so impressed with him.He was so easy to work with.Sal also provided one summer's employment for our daughter Amy. God bless all of you. Cherish so many good memories with him.
Tricia and Wendell Duncan

Posted by Patricia Duncan - Farmington, CT   April 23, 2020

I worked closely with Sal as Head of Marketing & Communications at Guy Carpenter. Sal was a wonderful leader, especially after 9-11. He was fare, respectful,caring, funny, authentic. Thoughts & prayers for Sal, Marion and the rest of the Zaffino family.

Posted by John Greene - Plainview, NY   April 22, 2020

Peter, My sincere condolences on the passing of your Dad, Sal. I remember very well how he (and Britt) calmed everyone at Guy Carpenter following 9/11 and maintained a confident "business as usual" mentality for the benefit of colleagues, clients, and markets. The company-wide calls were great including my memory of Sal reassuring 'Ruthie' Rohler that the next NY office would not be "high rise", and it wasn't. May Sal rest in peace. Sincerely, Jim McCarney Oakville, Ontario (formerly in the Toronto office of GC)

Posted by A friend   April 22, 2020

Our prayers and condolences on the passing of Sal
Susanne and Stan Galanski

Posted by A friend   April 22, 2020

I worked under Sal at Guy Carpenter, and was also there during 911.

Sal was a strong leader who instilled confidence in those who followed him, and in the aftermath of 911, his presence brought comfort to those of us who were still reeling from the fallout.

Thank you Sal for being there for so many of us who really needed strong shoulders, but gentle hands.

Rest well...

Posted by Ruth Rohler VanWhy - East Stroudsburg, PA   April 22, 2020

Dear Zaffino Family,

Sal will be missed by so many. He was such a good person in so many ways. I have deep faith that he is in the arms of the Lord.

With my sympathy to all of you,

Dave Schupp

Posted by Dave Schupp - West Granby, CT   April 22, 2020

I worked for Sal as his HR Director at Guy Carpenter. He was a strong leader, great boss and a wonderful person. I truly enjoyed knowing him. May he rest in peace.


Posted by Arlene Vaquer - Wingdale, NY - Coworker   April 21, 2020