NEW YORK — George Trescher, an event planner who organized the parties and funerals of Manhattan society for more than three decades, died Thursday afternoon of complications arising from emphysema. He was 77.
Through his firm George Trescher Associates, founded in 1972, Trescher seated a mix of socialites, media moguls and fashion figures next to each other at events ranging from the CFDA awards to Caroline Kennedy’s wedding to a plethora of benefits. When he wasn’t planning parties, he was attending them — most likely with good friend Brooke Astor on his arm.
“New York runs on a series of connections — these very sensitive connections — that send out signals,” he told WWD’s sister publication W in 1995. “And everyone’s antenna is up. We don’t need televisions. Things here are communicated in the most wonderful way. By bush telegraph, smoke signals. It’s almost as if the tips of your fingers know what’s going on.”
Trescher, a native Californian, arrived in New York in 1949 and spent his first 19 years here working for Henry Luce at Time Inc. Three years later, Trescher transformed the way charity benefits were held when he organized an event for the Lenox Hill Neighborhood Association that was held on site at the Lenox Hill Center, rather than at a theater, as was customary at the time.
It was his first party with one of his de facto partners over the next 30 years, Sean Driscoll, owner of Glorious Food. Together with party planner Robert Isabell, the trio became the go-to planners of the benefit scene.
It takes two things to break into society, Trescher told W: “Generosity and wit. You can’t break in just with money. That’s been demonstrated numbers of times. Money has stormed the gates and found them closed. Money, with charm and achievement, will prevail.”
Trescher is survived by his sister, Susan Trescher. No funeral or memorial service is planned, as per his wishes.
This story first appeared in the June 6, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.