About 200 friends of the late Stephen Rubin attended a memorial service on Thursday evening at New York’s Metropolitan Club to celebrate the memory of the influential publisher and noted opera buff, who died last October. The event featured brief, heartfelt tributes to Rubin as well as music interludes, in keeping with the evening’s theme, “An Evening of Words and Music.” (Words and Music was also the title of Rubin’s memoir published in early 2023).

Gillian Blake, who was editor-in-chief of Holt during Rubin’s time there, remembered him for reminding her that work can be fun, as well as for “raising the dressing standards at the Flatiron.” (Rubin was famous for wearing well-tailored suits, complete with suspenders.) But most of all, Blake said, she will always be grateful for Rubin encouraging her to “swing for the fences—something I wasn’t always comfortable in doing.” Blake would leave Holt to become editor-in-chief at Crown.

Jonathan Galassi, who served as president and publisher of Farrar, Straus and Giroux while Rubin was running fellow Macmillan imprint Holt, said that, while “forgiving was not one of Steve’s gifts,” it was overridden by his great generosity. Rubin “was the impresario of everything,” Galassi said. “Without him, life is duller.”