Projects led by the family-owned Tishman Realty and Construction during Tishman’s tenure include the John Hancock Center in Chicago and Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center.
John Tishman was born in New York City in 1926, the grandson of Tishman Realty and Construction Founder Julius Tishman. His father, Louis Tishman, died when Tishman was 4. By 1948, he had joined the family business.
Under his leadership, the company built and completed the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center in 1973—two of the country’s earliest skyscrapers that exceeded 100 stories. Tishman also built the 1.5-million-square-foot 666 Fifth Avenue between West 52nd and West 53rd Streets in 1957. The company ended up selling the Midtown office building after the firm initially dissolved in 1976. It was purchased in 2000 by Tishman Speyer, which was co-founded by Tishman’s cousin Robert Tishman.
After stepping down as CEO in 1996, Tishman became active in philanthropy, especially with fundraising and infrastructure for The New School. He served on the board of the Greenwich Village-based school since 1981, and chaired it from 1995 to 2001. For his work, the school named the Tishman Environment and Design Center after him in 2006, according to a press release issued this weekend in the wake of Tishman’s passing. The John L. Tishman Auditorium was named after him as well, and in 2011, Daniel Tishman announced a scholarship at The New School would be named for his father.
Rather than jump immediately into the business himself as he was coming of age, Mr. Tishman studied electrical engineering at the University of Michigan, from which he graduated in 1946. He served in the United States Navy and taught math before joining the Tishman company in 1948.
Five years later, he married Suzanne Weisberg. She died in 2005. He is survived by their two children, Daniel Tishman and Katherine Blacklock, and three grandsons.
Tishman Speyer Properties, an owner of Rockefeller Center, among other landmarks, is a development company founded in 1978 by John Tishman’s first cousin, Robert V. Tishman, and Robert’s son-in-law, Jerry Speyer.