When Joseph Milanowycz visited ground zero two Sundays ago, he roamed around, wondering where his son, Gregory, was. “We don’t have anything but an urn,” said Joseph Milanowycz. “He was a bundle of energy, and now there is no energy.”
His 25-year-old son, a manager at Aon , lived with his parents in Cranford, N.J. He was the household handyman, fixing plumbing and electric appliances, but his true love was golfing. “Whenever he had time, he would go to the golf courses and team up with whoever was there to play,” Joseph Milanowycz said. “He could socialize with anyone. It doesn’t matter whether you are a teenager, or middle-aged, or 102.”
And he often traded golf clubs with friends. “When he got a golf club in the mail, he would walk around in the house, showing it to people,” said Amy Verdi, Gregory Milanowycz’s girlfriend of five years. “It would be like his birthday all over again. He would hold onto the club, swinging it and pretending to play. You cannot stop him from playing golf.”
After his golfing friends learned that he was missing, a few dozen got in touch with his parents and donated $10,000. “These were friends we had never known,” said his father, who has decided to donate the money to a New Jersey first aid squad.
Thomas Michael Regan
The sleepless nights, the bottles, the diapers — none of it bothered him. He would go off to work glowing.
Thomas M. Regan and his wife, Gayle, had been married for seven years, intent on having children, but frustrated. Then, two years ago, they were rewarded with twins, Allaistar and Connor.
The twins were born prematurely, so there was a cascade of extra work. The parents shared the duties as equitably as possible. Awakened in the middle of the night, each would feed one twin. “It was a case of who’s on first, who’s on second,” Mrs. Regan said.
Mr. Regan, 43, commuted from Cranford, N.J., to the World Trade Center, where he was managing director and sector leader of the pharmaceutical and chemical division of Aon , and even in the aftermath of a sleepless night, he would be smiling and bursting with energy.
How proud was he of the twins? Within the first five minutes of any conversation, he would digress into how much they were sleeping, what they were eating, how they were growing. Co-workers knew to check the screen saver on his computer, because he constantly updated it with the latest picture of the twins. One day his boss came across him intently reading a book and highlighting sentences. He sneaked a look. It was a book about how to become a better father.
Robert Henry Lynch
Elisabeth Lynch did not think much of Robert H. Lynch’s baseball card collection until he presented her with an engagement ring. “Wow,” said the future Ms. Lynch, “what did you do, rob a bank?” He had not. He had sold his treasured stash of Ricky Henderson cards.
Years later, Mr. Lynch, 44, one of the World Trade Center’s many property managers, still bought a complete set of baseball cards every year to pass on to his kids. He passed on more valuable things too, teaching his son Patrick to whistle by age 4. This summer, on a family trip to the Jersey Shore, he outfitted his three young children (he had two others from a previous marriage) with kites and guided them aloft. “Even the 18-month-old was standing on the beach holding a kite,” Ms. Lynch said.
Around the Lynch home in Cranford, N.J., Mr. Lynch played master carpenter. “He rebuilt most of this house,” Elisabeth Lynch said, “and he was always teaching the kids how to do things. They liked to sing that song” — the theme from a Nickelodeon TV show — ” `Bob the Builder, can he fix it? Bob the Builder, yes he can.’ “
Christopher Michael Grady
Christopher M. Grady’s laugh was a full-body production, a gut-wriggling giggle so convulsive that he almost couldn’t breathe. So he’d grab his belly, and his head would fling back, nose scrunched, feet flailing. Soon, everyone else in the room was laughing, too.
He drew people in, did Mr. Grady, 39, a broker at Cantor Fitzgerald, with his laughter, his boyish high spirits — he’d hide the wallet of a colleague who left work early; would camp out in his van for a coveted tee-off time — and his humble but unshakable loyalty to loved ones. Mr. Grady, who had recently moved with his wife, Kelly, and their two young children to Cranford, N.J., thought of himself as quiet, even shy.
Mr. Grady wasn’t fancy: shrimp cocktail and a rib-eye steak, Mets and Jets (though he pitched a batting practice for the Yankees), friends and family. But he had a gentle sense of grace. Once, when a distant, elderly relative suffering from Alzheimer’s became agitated and started speaking in her native Spanish, Mr. Grady, who didn’t understand the language, sat with her, smiling and nodding sympathetically, until she calmed down. “He was so good to other people,” said Mrs. Grady. “I am so proud he chose me as his wife.”
Dean Philip Eberling
The woods of northwest New Jersey may seem an odd setting for a memorial to a Wall Street stock analyst. But Dean P. Eberling’s friends say that riding his bike through the mud was one of Mr. Eberling’s true passions.
No matter how much success he had in Manhattan’s world of high finance, they said, he remained a grounded New Jersey guy. He was born, raised and educated in New Jersey. He married a Jersey girl and had a house at the Jersey Shore.
“He seemed as focused and sophisticated as anybody else, but he made no pretense,” said Gary Terpening, who teamed with Mr. Eberling in a 24-hour mountain bike race in Allamuchy Mountain State Park in August 2001. “He knew what he liked to do. With Dean, it was O.K. to be a kid.”
In the summer of 2002, a group of fellow riders hauled a half-ton chunk of granite to a spot along a trail in Allamuchy. Beneath a likeness of Mr. Eberling bounding downhill, it reads, “Ride like Dean.”
Squeezing joy out of life was one of Mr. Eberling’s specialties, said his wife, Amy, who had known him since 1978 and been married to him for 19 years. An analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, he helped two women at the firm escape from an elevator in the World Trade Center minutes before he was killed. He was 44.
In his last few years, his wife said, he had been trying to spend more time with his daughters, Cori, now 15, and Lauren, who turned 10 on the day of the terrorist attack. If he was at one of their ballgames, it was no secret, his wife said. “He was a heckler.”
Leonard Joseph Snyder, Jr.
He may have been a risk-management insurer, but Leonard Joseph Snyder was hardly averse to risk. He loved to ski and hunt, and spent many a weekend in dicey weather fishing with his father on the family boat off Long Beach Island in New Jersey.
But one of his greatest aspirations was so very much more tame: “He really wants to be a Little League coach when his children are old enough,” said his mother-in-law, Kathleen Marquet. That would be the twins, Jason and Matthew, 2, and his 3-year-old daughter, Lauren. Mr. Snyder, 34, a vice president at Aon Consultants on the 101st floor of 2 World Trade Center, loved nothing more than “carrying his sons around on his shoulders,” she said. It says much about Mr. Snyder, of Cranford, N.J., that his large family and many friends have been distributing leaflets bearing his picture as they journey from hospital to hospital, “looking for Lenny,” Mrs. Marquet said. “We won’t say that it’s too late.”