Gerard J. Coppola
Already at age 12, he was a broadcasting nut. He bought a two-watt transmitter, built a mini-radio station in his basement in East Orange, N.J., and began broadcasting, rock ‘n’ roll and personal musings throughout the town. His friends loved it.
Gerard Coppola’s love of broadcasting and music was the central thread of his life. Mr. Coppola, who was also known as Rod and JRod, was antenna engineer for WNET, Channel 13, on the 110th floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower. His Web site — NJPeople.com/jrod — lives on and features his doleful songs. Not only did he mix the songs, but he sang and played all the instruments — guitar, bass, keyboards and drums.
“Gerard was a dreamer,” said his sister, Cynthia. “These are the people who are visionaries, who are risk-takers. They dare to listen to their own voices.”
As a teenager, he began playing in rock bands and writing songs. At family gatherings, everyone wanted to hear him tell stories. “People sought him out,” his sister said. “He had a gift. He was like the Pied Piper of the family.”
At home, he sought to bring his love of music to his wife, Alice, and their four daughters, Angeline, 20, Angela, 19, Delinda, 15, and Alison, 8. He would have turned 47 today.
“When his first grandson, Andre, was born five months ago,” his sister said, “he came to my house and said, `Cindy, I can’t wait for you to see him. He’s a gorgeous baby.’ He said, `I’m going to be such a cool grandfather.’ “