Margaret Lewis of Elizabeth was a traveler. Atlantic City was her second home and the Bahamas was probably her third, said her brother, Kevin Lewis.
“And everywhere else she could get to, she was there,” he said.
After work on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Miss Lewis would often hop a bus for Atlantic City so she could relax and test her luck at the slot machines. Then she’d go back again on most Sundays, her friends and family said.
“The girl was crazy about Atlantic City,” said her best friend, Jo Anne Pryor. “She kept going back. She said, ‘It’s just peaceful.’ I’m like, ‘How could it be with all those bells ringing?’
“She gets a charge from hearing the bells ringing,” Pryor said, adding that Miss Lewis’ last trip to Atlantic City was the Thursday before the attacks on the World Trade Center.
Miss Lewis, 49, worked for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as a legal secretary. Her office was on the 68th floor of the Trade Center’s North Tower.
She was at work when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the building Sept. 11.
Miss Lewis loved her job, Pryor said. It was a job she had dreamed about long before she was offered a position with the Port Authority in 1988. She prepared for it by attending Union County College in 1987 to train as a secretary, then again in 1994 to improve her speedwriting, Pryor said.
Miss Lewis had two sons, John, 32, and Melvin, 31, and even though they were grown, she doted on them as much as when they were children.
“From the time they were born, she would pinch their cheeks,” Pryor said. “She still did that with them. When she’d see them, she just brightened up.”
John Lewis said he never minded his mother’s outward displays of affection.
“That’s a mommy thing, I guess,” he said.
Lewis said he last saw his mother on the morning of the attacks, when he dropped her off at the train station.
Miss Lewis and her sons lived together in Elizabeth, and John Lewis said the house often was filled with children.
“When I got my niece and nephews, or my kids around, it was all about making her laugh,” he said.
But Miss Lewis also saved time for herself. In addition to her trips to Atlantic City, she took an annual cruise to the Bahamas. “It was good for her sinuses and to get some good air,” he said. “When she’d get back, she was perky. She was cleansed.”
In addition to her sons and brother, all of whom are from Elizabeth, Miss Lewis is survived her mother, Rebecca Lewis of Elizabeth; a sister, Lula Parker of Rahway; and 10 grandchildren.