In mid-March, a Bear weakened by its exposure to mortgage securities and the embarrassing collapse of two mortgage hedge funds was slammed by market speculation it was struggling, which sparked a run on the bank.
By March 14, Bear was running out of cash and forced to seek a bailout from the Federal Reserve through JPMorgan.
In related news, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said it would complete a previously announced sale of $30 billion of Bear Stearns assets to the Fed around June 26.
Previously, the sale, designed to reduce JPMorgan's exposure to distressed and hard-to-sell assets, was to be completed at the same time the merger was closed.
"The additional time will help ensure the smooth transfer of this large portfolio," JPMorgan said.
Attendees Thursday described a muted event marked by regret and frustration.
No one posed questions or expressed anger to Cayne or Chief Executive Alan Schwartz, who during the past six months presided over the bank's demise.
'We'll Get Through It'
"It's a sad day, but we'll get through it," Schwartz said in brief remarks, according to attendees who spoke to Reuters.
"We ran into a hurricane." Schwartz is expected to be offered a job as a senior deal maker at JPMorgan, although more than 55 percent of Bear's nearly 14,000 employees have lost their jobs.
Bear's executives did not take responsibility for the events that first weakened and then led to the firm's sudden collapse in March, when investors and trading partners withdrew their business and their cash from a bank heavily exposed to the U.S. mortgage crisis.
Cayne, slammed in the press for fleeing the office early to play golf, competing in bridge tournaments and allegedly smoking marijuana during critical moments of the bank's struggles, said these news accounts were inaccurate.
"Don't believe what you read in the press," he said. "It isn't even close."
Even so, many Bear employees were quietly seething about the bank's rapid demise, which wiped out the life savings of many bankers and traders who had been urged to keep their bonuses invested in Bear stock.
Employees declined to give their names because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the bank and feared their employment or severance agreements would be jeopardized.
"They should be ashamed to fly the flag," said Wayne Kinaper, a shareholder and Korean War veteran, pointing to a large American flag in Bear's lobby.
--On-Air Editor Charlie Gasparino contributed to this report.