2002Public Service

PORTRAITS OF GRIEF

An Old-Fashioned Man, A Pair of Loving Brothers, And a Jolly Snowboarder
By: 
Mark Brisman
December 9, 2001

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Here are glimpses of some of the victims of the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center

MARK BRISMAN
Give a Little, Get a Little

Mark Brisman

Could they have had less in common?
She was an actress with traveling in her toes, an adventurous career in her dreams. He was stiff, proper Dudley Do-Right. By age 5, he had mapped out his life: lawyer with wife in the suburbs, raising their kids. When Juliette Steuer met Mark Brisman, he was 19 going on 40.

The relationship worked, because sometimes opposites prod each other in the best ways. He gave her stability; she loosened him up. He managed to jump in a few fountains at college, and she married him, moved to Westchester and stayed home with their two young children.

Meanwhile, back at the office -- Harris Beach, a law firm with a branch on the 85th floor of 2 World Trade Center -- Mr. Brisman, 34, worked exhaustively, for his family's sake. If he was seen as old-fashioned in his treatment of women (as delicate flowers who need protection), he was also regarded as a can-do, meticulous guy, supersmart and assured. He was awarded his long-sought partnership posthumously.

He knew himself. "I'm not a babe magnet," he said. "I'm a baby magnet." Formal with adults, he whooped freely with small people, especially his own. A snapshot from Labor Day weekend: Mr. Brisman playing happily with children, his tall frame folded into a kiddie airplane at Adventureland.


CHRISTOPHER VIALONGA
Cool Guy, Warm Heart

Christopher Vialonga

Hey. To be 30, single, a sharp dresser, with a front pocket full of cash and a back pocket full of friends and family? Little brother, your married-with-children two older brothers think you're having too much fun!

Even though he meant to settle down (no serious contenders for the wife title, so far), Christopher Vialonga, a foreign exchange trader with Carr Futures, was having a great time flying solo.

A big, good-looking guy and former offensive tackle, he whistled everybody together for Jets tailgate parties and organized the tee-off times on Sundays for a gang of six. He always arrived a half-hour early, because he was so revved. Johnnie Juicebag, they called him, Johnnie Black Shoes.

The money spilled from his pockets. Yes, it went for the black BMW and those clothes -- forgetting to pack ski clothes for a Lake Tahoe trip, dropping $1,000 on new stuff -- but it flowed like crazy for his niece and nephews ("Chris, you're spoiling them!")

A full-tilt guy, who happened to be a sweetheart. He was worrying about his mother, Katherine, who struggled with widowhood. So at the beginning of September, he moved home to Demarest, N.J., to help around the house, just for a little while.


GLENN KIRWIN
Fit as a Fiddle, Full of Love

Glenn Kirwin was fit. Triathlon fit.

Over the years, he competed in a number of triathlons, and though he stopped the endurance events after the children arrived, he kept himself in enviable shape. "He was a fitness freak," said his wife, Joan. "He did 50-mile bicycle rides." When they were dating, she tried to keep up, but it was hopeless. "I once did 30 miles with him," she said, "but I couldn't sit for a week."

Mr. Kirwin, 40, lived in Scarsdale, N.Y., and was up at 5:15 in the morning to catch the 6:30 train to New York, where he was the head of product development at the eSpeed division of Cantor Fitzgerald.

It was usually 8 at night when he arrived home. It was his practice, though, to always do something with the children, Miles, 10, and Troy, 7, before they went to bed. He would read them a story or play checkers or engage in a game of Go Fish. Sometimes they would go outside and play catch or shoot baskets.

On weekends, he would take the boys golfing with him, even if that meant they did little more than steer the cart. Miles had gotten into running, and Mr. Kirwin would take him jogging for three or four miles.

In mid-October, Miles came home from school beaming. There had been a mile run that day as part of the National Physical Fitness Award program. Miles told his mother that he had finished first among the fifth graders. Mrs. Kirwin said to him, "Well, Daddy was up there watching you and rooting for you."


MARK COLAIO
STEPHEN COLAIO

Together, Start to Finish

Mark Colaio

Mark Colaio


Stephen Colaio

Stephen Colaio

There are countless ways to encapsulate Mark and Stephen Colaio, but the T-shirts do it in three words. The brothers owned matching shirts that they wore every chance they got. On the front was inscribed, "Life Is Good."

"They drank up life," said their sister, Jean Colaio Steinbach. Mark, top, was 34, two years older than Stephen, and in the best sense of an elder brother, he always looked out for him. As their sister put it, "From Little League to Wall Street, they were best friends."

Mark Colaio was a senior managing director and ran the agency desk at Cantor Fitzgerald, and he recruited his brother to work with him as a broker.

Granted, they had their distinctive sides. Stephen Colaio, for instance, adored the song "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugar Hill Gang, and knew it by heart.

Then there was that hair thing with Mark Colaio. One day last summer, he and his father, Victor, were getting their hair cut. They decided to opt for pretty short. In an impromptu moment, they decided to go the limit and shaved their heads entirely. They announced that shaved heads would henceforth become a summer ritual.

Family was paramount to the brothers Colaio. Mark Colaio lived with his wife, June, and two children, Delaney, 3, and Joseph, 22 months, in TriBeCa. Stephen Colaio, who was engaged, lived a few blocks away. So did their sister.

One recent night, Victor Colaio told his daughter, "I lost my beautiful sons, but I lost my two best friends. That's how I feel about it. They were my best friends."


MICHAEL CARROLL
Always Ready to Help

Michael Carroll

Over at the Ladder Company 3 firehouse, none of the coffee cups have handles. It's one of the many legacies of Michael Carroll, 39, who spent 16 years there. The other firefighters are not sure why he started snapping off the handles, but just like his other habits, it could not be stopped. He also cut a hole in the wall between the ladder company's dormitory and a room reserved for the aide who drives the local battalion chief around. Late at night, if the ladder company answered an alarm and the aide stayed in bed, Firefighter Carroll would reach through the hole, open a dresser drawer and slam it, just to let the aide know they had returned.

"He was an incredible teacher for the younger firemen," said Pat Murphy, whose idea of torture was speaking to school groups touring the firehouse -- until Firefighter Carroll helped him.

Michael Carroll drove the truck to the fires, coached his son, Brendan, in baseball, and doted on his wife, Nancy, and daughter, Olivia. He was "great, great and great," said his friend Gerard Brenkert.

During the blizzard of 1996, he was heading uptown from New York Hospital after his father had surgery there.

"On every other corner, there was a poor soul looking for a cab," said Nancy Amigron, his sister. One by one, Firefighter Carroll picked up the snow-covered New Yorkers and drove them home. "We were so relieved about my father that we would have driven anybody to California," said Mrs. Amigron, who is planning to send some new coffee cups -- without handles -- to Ladder 3.


EDWARD CARLINO
Shirt-Sleeve Executive

Edward Calino

Edward Carlino was the senior vice president in charge of running the financial reporting systems at the insurance brokerage firm Marsh & McLennan. It was a job he loved. Mr. Carlino, 46, had both technical and financial expertise, according to a Marsh spokesman, and he was responsible for assembling and analyzing financial data for the company.

"He worked hard," his wife, Marie, said. "He was at work more often than he was at home. He would be there at 7:30 a.m. and not leave before 9 p.m. He was one of the few people at his level who took off his coat, rolled up his sleeves and worked with the people that reported to him."

The couple met more than 11 years ago in a club after work when "I literally ran into him," Mrs. Carlino said.

They tried to take two vacations a year, Mrs. Carlino said, but that "was like pulling teeth." Mr. Carlino liked Paris and small Caribbean islands, especially St. Barts. The two were married and spent their honeymoon on St. Thomas in June 1995.

The latest addition to their family was Mandie, a mixed-breed dog from the North Shore Animal League. Mr. Carlino "didn't think he was a dog person, but he was," Mrs. Carlino said.


THOMAS A. CASORIA
On the Verge of Marriage

Thomas A. Casoria

Thomas A. Casoria waited almost five years, after taking his exam, to be called to his job at the Fire Department. After almost three years on the job he was with Engine Company 22 on East 85th Street.

Firefighter Casoria was last heard from, according to his father, Carlo, when he radioed his captain to say that he and two other firefighters were helping a paraplegic down the stairs from the fifth floor of 1 World Trade Center and, a little later, when he radioed that a fireman was down.

Firefighter Casoria, 29, grew up in Whitestone, Queens. At Holy Cross High School in Flushing, Queens, he played second base and was captain of his baseball team and was an all-city football player. Once in the Fire Department, he switched to softball and played second base on the department team. He "made plays they can't believe he made," his father said.

Firefighter Casoria's brother Carlo, who is also a firefighter, was in the same class at the academy. "He was my go-to guy," the brother said. "He would be there for me."

With his firefighting career under way, Thomas Casoria had time to think of his future and make his mother, Judy, happy. He was engaged on Oct. 22 a year ago and was set to be married on Oct. 13.


JAMES QUINN
At the Center of Things

James Quinn

Since childhood, when he sneaked train rides to the hotel where the famous baseball players stayed, James Quinn would find a way to be at the center of the action with celebrities, and he had dozens of photographs to prove it. There was Jimmy with Wayne Gretzky, Jimmy with Michael Jordan, Jimmy with Will Smith. "You never knew how he would get in," said Noreen Quinn, his mother. "He would just walk in like he belonged."

But he was interested in less famous people too, and closely followed the basketball career of his younger brother Joseph, a West Point cadet. Though James Quinn, 23, loved the excitement of being a fledgling trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, he did not mind entertaining a young cousin or an elderly aunt.

Late one night when he was a teenager, his mother remembered, he called to say he had gotten a ride to the end of the Marine Parkway Bridge. When she arrived to pick him up on the Brooklyn side, she discovered that the bridge was closed for construction. But there came Mr. Quinn; he had persuaded the workers to radio to those on the other side to let him across, telling them his mother was waiting.

"I really thought he would come out of the darkness this time," she said. "I really did."


ALLAN SHWARTZSTEIN
No Clothes Horse, He

Allan Schwartstein

After 15 years on Wall Street, Allan Shwartzstein still wore the watch he had received for his bar mitzvah. He preferred ratty denim shirts and hole-ridden khakis to the cuff links and starched collars more typical of Cantor Fitzgerald equities traders. That is what he wore on his second date with his wife, Amy, and still she married him. He promptly lost his wedding ring. "It just wasn't him," she said.

"He was somebody that, what you saw was what you got," she added. "This was not the guy that was going to hold the door open or worry about what came out of his mouth, or worry about what I looked like. He was genuine."

Mr. Shwartzstein was the kind of man for whom other people had a hard time buying presents, but who would always remember when it was time to buy them for others. "He would call and say: 'Don't tell him I told you, but it's John's birthday. Call him,' " said Jay Scharf, a best friend.

Even as a child, he seemed older than his years. "When he came home, he did not go straight to the friends to play with them," said his father, Avi. "He would stand first with the parents and have a mature conversation."

Allan Shwartzstein, 37 and the father of two, was named after an uncle who was killed in Israel in 1948. The uncle's body has never been found, Avi Shwartzstein said. Neither has Allan's.


TODD ISAAC
A Kick Out of Everything

Todd Isaac

From college on, it was Todd Isaac and Troy Dixon. Two young black men navigating the mostly white world of Wall Street traders. They played golf, they went to the Hamptons, but Mr. Dixon drew the line at skiing. "Todd said: 'Why don't we learn to snowboard? That way we can say we've been skiing all along, and we're just trying something new,' " Mr. Dixon said.

So they did, and when they were on top of Whistler Mountain, Mr. Isaac, who grew up in the Bronx and worked for Cantor Fitzgerald, would say, "Look at us!" And when they were in South Beach, or in the V.I.P. lounge of a swank Manhattan nightclub, or at the Super Bowl, he would say it again. "Look. At. Us."

It was persistence and charm that got him there. Those qualities got him his girlfriend, Sandra Perez, too. A quiet foil to his boisterous humor, she did not like him when they met, at a Valentine's dinner for singles. She is Puerto Rican, and Mr. Isaac made one too many jokes about flan.

But it was not long before she was picnicking in Central Park with him, poring over the real estate ads to plan where they would live. "Todd would make you love him," said his brother O'Dell Isaac. "If you didn't love him right away, he would work on you until you did."


JAMES F. MURPHY IV
'A Smiling Soul'

James F. Murphy

On Friday, Sept. 7, James F. Murphy IV got up early to catch a flight to Dallas. His limo never came. So at 6 a.m., he woke his mother, Helen Marie Murphy, and asked her to take him to the airport. Except that he insisted on taking his car, a beloved new Volkswagen Passat, and doing the driving himself. "It was hysterical," said Mr. Murphy's mother, recalling how he wove in and out of the traffic at a furious speed. "I said, 'Jimmy, if you don't slow down, you won't have a mother, a car or a flight.' "

But Mr. Murphy, a 30-year-old account manager at Thomson Financial who was habitually late for everything, was coolly confident, arriving at the airport with six minutes to spare. By Sunday night, he was back at his parents' kitchen table on Long Island -- where he and his wife, Jeanine, and four gregarious older sisters liked to gather -- with a pair of turquoise and silver earrings and an apology for his mother. "I know it was the ride from hell," he told her, more amused than contrite.

It was his upbeat, teasing manner that won over his wife, whom he met at college in Maryland. As she put it: "He was a very genuine person, warm and comfortable to be around. He was not a saint, but he had a smiling soul."

Married in 1999, Mr. Murphy and his wife were living temporarily with his parents while repainting a new apartment in Mineola, N.Y. But on Sept. 11, Mr. Murphy attended a trade show at the World Trade Center.


GREGORY SPAGNOLETTI

Gregory Spagnoletti

Most kids hate hand-me-downs. But Paul Spagnoletti did not mind wearing his brother Gregory's, because the clothes always seemed practically new, arriving spotless and crisply folded. Greg was the third of the four Spagnoletti brothers -- best friends and hockey fanatics all -- and he was utterly meticulous. He was also, as Paul Spagnoletti put it, "definitely the responsible one."

As an adult, living in the city and working as a bond salesman at Keefe Bruyette & Woods, Greg Spagnoletti was a problem-solver, caretaker and coach, checking in on his kid brother every day, helping his dad with his finances, organizing an ice hockey team at Chelsea Piers and dropping in on Anthony, the neighborhood tailor, with a cup of coffee.

And Mr. Spagnoletti, who would have turned 33 on Oct. 18, remained as neat and particular as ever. Two years ago, he bought a 1,200-square-foot apartment on West 72nd Street. It was perfectly livable, but he and his fiancee, Gretchen Zurn, spent nine months gutting it to its slab and girders and putting it back together again.

"When all was said and done, he was so proud of it," Paul Spagnoletti said. "It would take him 45 minutes to give you the tour."


GLEN PETTIT
The Smile Behind a Camera

Glen Pettit

Glen Pettit took on a lot and never let it slow him down. In addition to being a New York City police officer, he was a TV news cameraman, a freelance photographer, a volunteer firefighter and a devotee of Irish tradition and music.

Then there was the endless flood of gifts: from care packages of Skippy peanut butter for friends in East Asia to the prize seat he arranged for his mother at a Christmas Eve Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral, just a row from the mayor and the police commissioner. "If he loved you he loved you completely, and he was going to take care of you," recalled Tara Felice, one of his five siblings.

Officer Pettit, 30, had joined the department's video production unit, which makes training and promotional videos. "His greatest love was being behind a camera, composing a shot," said his partner, Officer Scott Nicholson. The video unit responded to the World Trade Center attack hoping to get footage for an annual promotional tape it makes called "Heroes."

"Glen was telling us, 'I'm gonna get in close; you stay and get the establishing shots, get the rescue workers responding,' " Officer Nicholson recalled. "I looked over and Glen was running past me, camera in hand, heading toward the towers."


DANNY A. CORREA
Poetic Journey

Danny A. Correa

Danny A. Correa wrote this: I dance in the clouds and soak in the haze. What about you?

That lyric query was in an e-mail message that Mr. Correa sent to a friend a few weeks after he started working on the 98th floor of 1 World Trade Center. The routine of ascending the building's summit quickly spawned images that fed his poetry.

"Danny loved to write," said his father Helman Correa, who brought his family to the United States from Colombia in 1979. Danny Correa, 25, represented the fulfillment of his father's dream of a better life. Berkeley College had placed him in a job at the accounting department of Marsh & McLennan in July; he was to receive his bachelor's degree in accounting, with honors, this fall.

He was the father of a 4-year-old daughter, Katrina, and founder of a basement rock band called Lucid-A. He played lead guitar, but he also could handle drums, keyboard and horns.

"He was amazing, quiet and kind of mysterious," said Erin McAteer, a friend. "He never talked too much about private things, but you could tell that a lot of him came out in his music."


MEREDITH EWART
PETER FEIDELBERG

Meredith Ewart
Peter Feidelberg

Meredith Ewart, 29, and Peter Feidelberg, 34, had a romance that began in a corporate office in Montreal. They took their vows in a civil ceremony at the Municipal Building in Manhattan.

And more than a year after that, they held the reception back home in Quebec, at a country inn where friends and family danced and toasted their happiness under bright sunny skies.

"They really loved each other," said Robert Ewart, Ms. Ewart's father. "I never heard them fight, never heard them bicker."

Both worked at Aon Corporation, on the 104th floor of 2 World Trade Center. Their long-planned wedding party finally took place on Aug. 11 at an inn a few miles from Otterburn Park, Ms. Ewart's hometown, where about 90 guests gathered. The weather, so hot and sticky most of August, became clear and mild for the occasion.

"He was just a prince of a fellow, and we just loved him," Ms. Ewart's father said of Mr. Feidelberg. "At the end I went over, and I said, 'I love you, Mer,' and she said, 'I love you, Dad.' "

Mr. Feidelberg, an avid skier and bicyclist, had recently returned from a trip to Germany, where he hiked in the mountains with his father. "I was fortunate to travel with him," said his father, Michael. "It's a very big loss."

Ms. Ewart was born on June 25, 1972, her father's 33rd birthday, and they always celebrated together, with two cakes -- orange for him, chocolate for her. But last year, she and her husband bought a house in Hoboken, N.J., and could not make it to Montreal for the big day.

As they went for a walk that evening, Mr. Feidelberg told her he regretted that he had never formally proposed to her. "So he got down on his knees and said, 'Meredith, will you marry me?' " Mr. Ewart said, "And he gave her this gorgeous diamond engagement ring. Needless to say, she accepted the proposal, and the birthday present."


CHARLES L. KASPER
Granddaddy's Trains

Last year at Christmas time, Deputy Chief Charles L. Kasper of the Fire Department's Special Operations Command went out and bought a set of trains.

They were not for his 425-person division, which races to the scene whenever there is a major catastrophe and already owns a huge collection of red-painted fire trucks, fireboats and other exciting toys for grown-ups. No, they were for his grandson, but when the chief linked the track pieces into a circle and sent the locomotive huffing and whistling around it, Dylan, then only 7 months old, was too young to appreciate the spectacle.

Never mind, thought Chief Kasper. There's always next year.

On Sept. 11, the 54-year-old veteran of dozens of rescues was having a day off when he heard about the World Trade Center attacks. He scrambled into a spare fire engine parked near his home in Staten Island and sped to the towers. He had a motto: "Drive it like it's stolen," recalled Jim Ellson, a retired captain.

Recently Chief Kasper's wife, Laureen, and their children unpacked the trains, set them up the same way he had and watched while Dylan reacted with delight. "We say that he's playing with Granddaddy," who was "always on duty for his family," Mrs. Kasper said. "And we know that Charlie's circle will always encircle us."


KAREN MARTIN
They Liked Her Style

Karen Martin

Karen Martin's friends say she was not just a Type A personality, she was a Type A+. Competitive. Organized. In charge. On the stick to a fault.

She did her Christmas shopping during the summer, had it all wrapped up and out of the way by first frost.

When water skiing, she would dip and slip a little lower than most people. On snow, she always took the steeper, riskier route down. Golfing? She hit from the men's tee.

Back in the 1980's, Ms. Martin, from Danvers, Mass., worked for a while as a bartender at the Hard Rock Cafe in Boston -- a Type A+ bartender. She set up her glasses and bottles just so, kept a precise inventory of everything and ragged on all the other bartenders to do likewise. They grumbled. But it was good-natured grumbling because at heart they liked Karen Martin's style. They went along.

In 1989, Ms. Martin became an American Airlines flight attendant and, jumping up onto a chair, proclaimed to her friends: "There is now something special in the air." She liked to work the long, hard hauls, especially the coast-to-coast "transcons."

On Sept. 11, she was the head attendant on American Flight 11, bound out of Boston for Los Angeles. She was 40 years old.


DENNIS MORONEY
The Fantastic 40

Dennis Moroney

Maybe it was a bit of ego at work. Or maybe it was an early attack of male midlife crisis, sparked perhaps by one of those fleeting thoughts about mortality. Then again, maybe it was just, hey, time to boogie!

Whatever it was, starting last spring, Dennis Moroney began to talk a lot about making a big deal out of his 40th birthday, which would fall on Nov. 7.

First, he told his wife, Nancy, that he wanted her to throw a big bash for him and invite all his friends from Eastchester, N.Y., where he lived, as well as friends from his office at Cantor Fitzgerald.

Then he began to change the way he lived.

"He started to work a lot harder and longer at his job," Mrs. Moroney recalled.

"And he went on a diet and started exercising a lot more. When he started, he weighed maybe 215 pounds and loved to eat cheeseburgers, five and six a week. But all of a sudden he was seriously into eating veggies and regular jogging, sometimes 10 miles or more. He dropped at least 25 pounds. He was still the sweetest man who ever lived, but he also seemed to have this fresh new focus on life."

Mrs. Moroney reserved space at an Eastchester restaurant for a birthday celebration and drew up a guest list. Invitations were to go out on Oct. 1. Most of the people on the list ended up gathering in Immaculate Conception Church in Eastchester on Sept. 22 for a memorial service.

 

JEFFREY DWAYNE COLLMAN
Happiest in Flight

Jeffrey Dwayne Collman

Jeffrey Dwayne Collman, a flight attendant for American Airlines, had his normal flight pattern down pat: he worked the Boston-to-San Francisco route, an itinerary that linked two of his favorite cities and made for a reasonable commute home to Navato, Calif.

His presence on Flight 11 on Sept. 11 was a fluke: he had a birthday coming up on Sept. 28 and signed on for the extra trip so that he could take time off to turn 42 with a little party at home. An inspired dessert chef, he was likely planning to get creative and bake his own birthday cake.

And he didn't mind flying the extra shift: traveling was his idea of bliss. Becoming a flight attendant three and a half years ago had been the culmination of a stubborn campaign. After United turned him down, he applied to American; he was ecstatic when he was accepted on his second try.

His on-the-ground passion was tennis. The week before his death, he attended the United States Open in Queens.

"He had friends all over the world; he was a people person," said his stepmother, Kay Collman from Yorkville, Ill., his hometown. "He'd know the life histories of his passengers after just one flight."


DENNIS L. DEVLIN
Her Cheerleader

Dennis L. Devlin

For 29 years, Dennis and Kathleen Devlin were man and wife, parents to four children. In a house on a small hill in upstate New York, they watched sunsets and laid plans to grow old together.

But Dennis Devlin, a battalion chief for the New York City Fire Department, is gone now, leaving Mrs. Devlin to try and hold on to their bond.

So, Chief. Devlin's hobbies have become her hobbies. Every morning, she's out on a three mile run, a habit she never cared for when her husband was alive, but one she hopes now will prepare her for a coming race that she is planning in his honor.

"I can hear him sometimes telling me not to get tired, pushing me," she said.

It is also because of her husband that no day passes without Mrs. Devlin thumbing through one of the 23 photo albums Chief Devlin labored over, for decades, meticulously labeling and dating each photograph. (The last photo he ever entered, taken three months before Sept. 11, was one of him in a helicopter flying over Lower Manhattan, staring at the World Trade Center.)

"We complained about him taking so many pictures, everywhere we went," she said. "But having those albums now is such a joy. We all look at them and think how blessed we are that he took the time and that we were a happy family."


STEPHEN J. FIORELLI
Painting the Picture

Stephen J. Fiorelli

For Robert Vitali, Stephen J. Fiorelli was the truest kind of childhood friend, the kind you stick with, commute with, talk to on the phone four times a week, and name as your baby's godfather. The two grew up four houses away from each other in Dongan Hills, in Staten Island.

"He was the best kind of best man," Mr. Vitali said.

Mr. Fiorelli, 43, was an engineer for the Port Authority, and loved buildings and bridges, said his brother Bill. He was well known in Aberdeen, N.J., for helping neighbors and friends with their home improvement projects.

"He was really an artist in a lot of ways," said Mr. Vitali, who still has the cocktail napkin his friend used to sketch out the new second floor of the Vitali home.

"He was able to paint the picture both in words and in drawings. I could watch him for hours, explaining something, sketching something out. It was amazing."

After Mr. Fiorelli's funeral, Mr. Vitali offered these words to people who asked him how he was holding up: "If you have any close friends, write a eulogy for them today, even if they're still alive. You'll look at them differently."


DAVID KOVALCIN
Portraits in the Mist

David Kovalcin

There are little ghosts of Daddy in the mirrors of the Kovalcin house in Hudson, N.H.

David Kovalcin had a habit of drawing smiling portraits of the whole family -- his wife, Elizabeth, and their daughters, Rebecca, 4, and Marina, 1 -- on the steamy glass in the bathrooms. Now Rebecca draws her own, with only three people.

Mr. Kovalcin, 42, was a passenger on Flight 11, on a business trip for Raytheon, where he was a senior mechanical engineer. Mrs. Kovalcin said they had carved out a "Father Knows Best" kind of life, with him coming home at six every evening, choosing to know his family well rather than to work longer hours for more money.

She remembers that her husband had trouble sleeping two nights before his departure. "He woke me up at 3 a.m., and said 'I'm pacing the house. I can't sleep,' " she said.

"I rubbed his head and tried to calm him down. He was very distressed, but had no idea what it was. Then three days later I remembered, and thought, 'Holy cow, I wonder what that was about.' "

The morning he left home he had written a note for his family: "Rebecca, Marina and Mommy, I will miss everybody very much. See you Friday night." At the end he added, "I fed the dogs but not the fish."


NICHOLAS P. PIETRUNTI
Everybody's Nicky

Nicholas P. Pietrunti

Everyone seemed to know Nicholas Pietrunti, who earned the nickname, "The Mayor."

In Staten Island, in Manhattan, or anywhere in New Jersey, "there would always be someone who knew him," said his sister, Janet Ciaramello. "I'd say my maiden name and people would say, 'Oh, do you know Nicky, are you related to Nicky?' Everybody knew him."

Mr. Pietrunti, 38, lived in Belford, N.J., buying a home there after his mother died six years ago. He worked as an equities clerk at Cantor Fitzgerald, and lived alone.

John Pietrunti said the future would not have necessarily been easy for his brother, who was deaf, but that his life was starting to improve.

"That's the sad part. You don't build to a crescendo of happiness, it comes and goes, but the only thing I believe is that on Sept. 11 he was happy. He was looking forward to going to work the next day. Work didn't define him, but he felt good about where he was."


JENNIFER MAZZOTTA
Keeping Her Standards High

Jennifer Mazzotta

At 8, Jennifer Mazzotta cut out magazine photos of big, luxurious kitchens and bathrooms to tape to the refrigerator door. "For my house," she said. "When I grow up."

Amused and slightly alarmed, Catherine Mazzotta said: "You shouldn't set your standards so high!"

But Jennifer replied firmly: "No, Mom. I'm going to have these."

Fifteen years later, Jennifer Mazzotta, of Queens, was one of Cantor Fitzgerald's youngest traders and engaged to Anthony Roman, a student at the police academy.

"They were on a roller coaster of making their plans," Mrs. Mazzotta said. "He was graduating in February. They were looking for a house. Their wedding was in the summer. They each were saving."

But then, Jennifer had been making meticulous plans since age 5. She got ready for kindergarten by selecting a special outfit, sharpening several number 2 pencils and packing a new box of crayons.

At the school doorway, Mrs. Mazzotta steeled herself for her daughter's tears, "but she just gave me a kiss and said 'Goodbye, Mom,' and walked in without looking back. I was the one who cried."


JOSE CARDONA
The Good Things

Jose Cardona

Pictures of Jose Cardona show him dancing on a conga line with his wife and friends, clowning around after getting off a horse during a vacation, having dinner with his daughter from a previous marriage -- Sasha, 11 -- and his wife's son from hers, Miguel, 14.

He loved his family, liked the good things in life and wanted his wife, Paulina Cardona, 33, to look sexy.

She said her husband was so touched he cried when she surprised him with a tattoo of a rose on her left breast, his idea. And he cried again, she said, when the couple found out that she was expecting their first child and the baby would be a son.

Knowing his family would expand, Mr. Cardona wanted to make extra money to buy a house. So on Saturdays, the couple would get up at 6 a.m. and travel around New York City in their car selling fish and products from Ecuador, their home country, to friends and friends of friends.

When his customers found out that Mr. Cardona was missing at the World Trade Center, some asked: "He sold fish there?"

In fact, Mr. Cardona, 35, had been working for Wall Street companies for 14 years, most recently as a clerk at Carr Futures.

The baby is due in January.


JOHN RIGO
Coffee and the Man

John Rigo

John Rigo liked to pose as the lovable curmudgeon. "That's Mr. Rigo to you," he would say, when somebody wanted something.

His two great loves were his wife, Elizabeth, and his work as senior vice president at Marsh & McLennan, where he specialized in workers' compensation claims, and put in 50- to 60-hour work weeks.

Mr. Rigo, 48, and his wife had no children, and they were particularly fond of their nieces and nephews. Mr. Rigo loved to play the subversive uncle. Last summer, the Rigos took Mrs. Rigo's nephew, Jackson Meredith, 10, to Rome and Paris.

Jackson was too young for many things he would have liked to do, among them drinking coffee. But every morning, Mr. Rigo and Jackson would sneak out of the hotel, arms around one another, and have a cup together, man to man. On the plane back, the stewardesses were enchanted with young Jackson, Mrs. Rigo said.

Jackson wanted to know how come he could attract older women, "but I can't get the girls in my class interested in me," he said.

"Come back to me in a couple of years and I'll give you a couple of tips," Mr. Rigo told him.


LUCY CRIFASI
To Be So Loved

Lucy Crifasi

Everybody loved Lucy.

And why not? Lucy Crifasi was the kind of woman who always seemed to have a big smile and time to solve somebody else's problems. That's basically what she did as an American Express travel coordinator assigned to the Marsh & McLennan offices in the World Trade Center.

Ms. Crifasi, 51, took care of family and friends as well. In recent months, she took off one day a week to spend more time with her 85-year-old mother, with whom she lived in Glendale, Queens.

She loved to travel, and over the last few years she took her brother, Frank, to London and Antigua. The day after school ended last year she took her sister, Maria, a Roman Catholic school principal, to the Caribbean.

"She didn't like going away in the summer because it was too hot, but it was the only time I could go," Ms. Crifasi said. "She knew how stressed out I was."

The Crifasi family came to New York from Sicily in 1958. Last year, the whole family went back to visit Montevago, their hometown. Then the two sisters took a side trip to Rome, where they said the rosary with the pope and toured the city. "She made everybody feel very, very special," said Ms. Crifasi.

Lucy Crifasi was known for her devotion to the singer Julio Iglesias and for her classy sense of fashion. "Lucy only had two vices," said her brother, Frank. "Shoes and pocketbooks."


These sketches were written by B. Drummond Ayres Jr., Nichole M. Christian, Anthony DePalma, Shaila K. Dewan, Emily Eakin, Robin Finn, Jonathan Fuerbringer, Tobin Harshaw, Constance L. Hays, Jan Hoffman, Tina Kelley, N. R. Kleinfield, Mireya Navarro, Dinitia Smith and Barbara Stewart.

Public Service 2002