Gregory Louis Pellegrino Obituary
April 30, 2021 – It is with deep sadness that we share the news that Greg Pellegrino, a Principal in Deloitte’s Government and Public Services practice, passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack on Sunday, April 25, at the age of 55.
Greg was a devoted husband and father, a visionary business leader, and a mentor to innumerable colleagues who accomplished more in his 55 years than most would in 100. He was generous, funny, playful, wickedly smart and exceedingly kind.
Born to Richard Louis and Annette Ester in 1965, Greg grew up on military bases, a formative experience for him. It meant he went to school and played sports with children of the most diverse backgrounds, both ethnically and socio-economically — a fact which shaped his worldview immensely.
As a child of a Navy Submarine Commander, Greg was a good grass cutter, excellent snow shoveler, chopped wood well (stacking not so much), ladder climber and gutter cleaner. In his off days he excelled at skateboarding and BB gun shooting. He could run away and hide like no one else! But his biggest love was cycling. He worked at bike shops as a kid and loved his long bike rides.
The death of Greg’s father when he was 15 set the stage for the remarkable life that followed. This tragedy left him inspired to live life to the fullest, always ready for the next adventure — never idle, never bored, carrying his father’s legacy forward.
And while his 36 years as a consultant and philanthropist were filled with remarkable professional successes, Greg’s greatest accomplishment was his family and the unparalleled positive effect he had on the lives of so many.
Professionally, he served as a Partner at Deloitte for more than 20 years, playing a critical role in building the firm’s federal and global government practices from their humble beginnings to their industry leading positions today. He not only connected easily with people, but he had an innovative mind and incredible vision of what the future could be.
From the Pentagon to the White House to government capitals all over the world, Greg was seen as a trusted guide by government leaders. He helped lead the redesign of federal aviation security following 9/11. He aided in improving the veteran’s health care experience working with the Department of Veterans Affairs. He worked to remodel highway transportation systems across the nation to reduce traffic and save lives, and his contribution to the overhaul of the national organ transplantation system received the prestigious Smithsonian Award for the application of technology to the public sector.
Not only did many clients rely on Greg’s insights to build a better future, but countless Deloitte colleagues also sought Greg’s wise counsel. He was a mentor and friend to so many of his colleagues and clients, who recall his unique ability to bring people together. Some of his most personally rewarding work was with the No Labels organization, bringing together political leaders to find common-sense public policy solutions. Greg was often called in to solve problems no one had been able to solve before, and his work drove global impact—always to enhance the lives of others.
Greg was also extremely passionate about diversity, inclusion, and equity, and brought those values to bear in very real ways throughout his time at Deloitte. He used his leadership and influence to support the underserved and underrepresented in all walks of life. And while his technical vision and business savvy will be missed, it is Greg’s personal connection and care for others that is truly irreplaceable.
Despite his intense passion for work, we mustn’t forget this—Greg was fun. Really fun! A big kid at heart, he enjoyed life to its fullest and brought levity and humor to those around him, often in a self-deprecating and goofy way. He could laugh at his own quirks and eccentricities, including his accident-prone nature. Over the years Greg had shattered his tibia while skiing, run into a bear on his bike, and been struck by lightning not once, but twice.
The stories and the laughs go on. A technology nerd who was known to give presentations atop a Segway, Greg was also a photographer, a practical joker and an animal lover. He could fix or construct almost anything, once staying up well after midnight on Christmas Eve assembling a wooden toy kitchen, much to the delight of his daughter. He loved jalapenos in his cocktails, inflatable movie screens, and Sony cameras. A collector of many things, he could often be found acquiring fine wines, Louis Vuitton attire or the latest in electronics.
Greg had a particular passion for rescuing animals, especially dogs and horses. Those who knew him take solace in the fact that he passed away on the way home from his wife’s horse show, the top down on his much-loved Bentley, joyful music playing, picturesque scenery passing him by, on the way to make a celebratory cocktail.
An avid cyclist, he went on a ride the day before he passed: his bike technology said he had beaten all his previous records. Not believing it, he raced home to make sure nothing was wrong with the technology. There wasn’t, and the last ride of his life was the best ride of his life. Quite an accomplishment for someone who had formerly trained with the Olympic cycling team.
Greg had so many memorable bike rides, maybe none more so than when he had a heart attack cycling the Zwift Maratona dles Dolomites in Italy. Remarkably, he didn’t even realize he had a heart attack until two hours into the 2 ½ hour race. Every doctor that treated him said it was unheard of to have survived such circumstances. In work, and in life, Greg accomplished the unheard of.
His greatest joy was his family. He fell in love with his beloved wife, Kristiane Kristensen, or his “KK,” from the first moment he saw her. The two were inseparable ever since. Their first date lasted 10 days!
Greg and KK brought out the inner child in one another; she never knew when he would come around the corner on his Segway, wearing some crazy costume. He always knew how to make the mundane magical. They made the most of every moment and together inspired a real sense of wonder in life and the world. They not only shared many interests (skiing, travel, life on the farm), but also opened up new parts of the world for each other. At first, Greg didn’t know much about horses, but that didn’t stop him from throwing himself full-heartedly into polo. He loved playing it with KK and their friends. He was looking forward to debuting his new polo mallets in the summer season.
Greg was so proud of his Kristiane that he would follow her around to capture her success with his latest and greatest camera. The day he passed he was traipsing across a horse show to get the best angle of KK jumping her beloved horses. His love of photography stemmed from photographing countless hours of his children playing sports. Recently he recalled: “Not only do I have 100,000 photos of my kids and their sports and those memories, but I still love photography because of the memories that I have of those days.” Greg spent his last day doing what he loved, clicking away on his camera and thinking of his greatest passions: his KK, and his kids.
Greg’s three adult children (who he had with his first wife Muffin) were his world: John, who shares Greg’s technical mind and problem-solving skills; Roman, who shares Greg’s athletic ability and deep creativity; and Mia, who shares Greg’s love for friendships, fashion flair, and gusto for the new and adventurous.
The week before he passed he was asked in an interview, “What message would you put on a billboard if you knew it would reach millions?” Greg’s reply was: “Hug your kids.”
Greg was an incredible man. Our loss at his passing is so great because the gift of his life was so immense. Greg is survived by his wife, Kristiane, his three children, John, Roman, and Mia, his mother, Annette Pellegrino Fontaine and her husband, Mel Fontaine, and his brothers Jeff and Chris.
In the words of Andy Warhol, “The idea is not to live forever, it is to create something that will.” Greg did exactly that. His legacy of joie de vivre and service to others will live on eternally. May we all hug our kids in his honor.