Andrew J. Alameno
Andrew Alameno loved the guys on his desk at Cantor Fitzgerald. “They were not like a frat house,” said his wife, Sally Cohen Alameno. “But they were.” They would get together in Westhampton in the summer with their families. At Christmas, they brought their young children into the office to eat candy and throw around a football. No one got any work done during those visits, Mrs. Alameno said.
Years ago, Mr. Alameno saw Sally Cohen walking down Washington Street in Hoboken nearly every night for months. She was heading home from her step aerobics class wearing a University of Miami sweatshirt, and he was lifting weights in his apartment. One night, he saw her in a bar. He sent a friend to ask her if she owned a University of Miami sweatshirt. The next day, he asked her out.
They have two children: Joe, 5, and Nina, 2. Mr. Alameno, 37, was home in Westfield, N.J. every night by 6 p.m., in time for dinner with the kids. He joked about retiring to North Carolina and becoming a golf pro. He had begun teaching Joe how to play. “My husband had a hobby of making golf clubs in the basement,” Mrs. Alameno said. “He made Joe a set of his own clubs. They’re fit for a 5-year-old. It’d make you cry to look at them.”
Michael A. Davidson
He is going to get married in July,” Jeff Davidson was saying Friday about his brother Michael, a 27-year-old equity options sales trader for Cantor Fitzgerald. “Her name is Dominique DeNardo. They met in college, at Rutgers. He just saw her from a distance, fell in love with her and wanted her. So he beat up her boyfriend and took her. Caveman-like, pretty much. And they’ve lived happily ever after. They got engaged on Sept. 21, 2000. On her 25th birthday, he took her to Cancun to propose. He lied to her by saying he won a trip on one of the Web sites just for the weekend. About midway through, he finally popped the question. He waited until sunset on the first night.
“He’s a big mush ball. He cries at commercials. But you better not put that in because he thinks he’s a tough guy. He’s kind of a big kid — 5 foot 10, 215 pounds. But he’s as sensitive as they come. We have a grandma down in Florida. So every chance we get, we try to get Grandma to fly up. Grandma’s like, `I don’t have the money right now.’ My brother’s like, `Don’t worry.’ He pays for it, or we all pitch in, whatever. We get her up here somehow. He cares.”
Stephen Mark Fogel
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Leo Russell Keene, III
L. Russell Keene III, a 33- year-old equities analyst at Keefe Bruyette & Woods, was such an avid sportsman that he once hiked through New Zealand for two solid months. “He has plenty of stamina to survive,” said his wife, Kristen, who is offering him more than just spiritual support. The other day Kristen, who lives in Westfield, N.J., was escorted by Union County sheriffs to the disaster site outside 2 World Trade Center.
Instead of standing there offering respectful witness, “I wanted to go dig him out,” she said, “but they wouldn’t let me. I know just where he is.” Two other employees from Bruyette escaped from an elevator jammed near the lobby, and reported that Russell and 15 others were alive inside. Then the building collapsed. And so, while Kristen and other Bruyette relatives tried to lobby the rescuers to dig near the elevator, she remembered the man she met six years ago in Ocala, Fla., saying simply: “I loved him from the start.”
Richard B. Madden
Richard B. Madden’s daughter, Patricia, was only 19 months old when she kissed her father for the last time. But already they had their little jokes.
Every morning, before setting off for his job as an insurance broker at Aon , he would warn her, “I’m going to work. Don’t grow up on me now.” Then, when he got home, he would chide her for having disobeyed him.
Mr. Madden, 35 and a first-time father, would also forbid her to mess with his still full head of hair, which, of course, she took as an invitation.
And as only a dad can do, he taught her how to clink her juice bottle to his beer glass and say, “Cheers.”
Father and daughter shared one other little ritual long before it became fashionable. Mr. Madden would take down the flag outside his home in Westfield, N.J., each night before bed and take it indoors. Each morning, little Tricia would shout, “Flag! Flag!” to remind him it was time to hang it again. “My husband was a strong Republican,” said Mr. Madden’s wife, Maura. “He was very proud that at her age, his daughter wanted the flag outside.”
On Sept. 11, he had called Mrs. Madden from the 100th floor of the south tower, afraid he would not make it out. The authorities later identified his body in the rubble from the inscription on his wedding ring, which read, “Rich, all my love, Maura.”
Since Sept. 11, the flag has remained on display, round-the-clock, and the ring has remained on display around Mrs. Madden’s neck.
John “Pepe” Salerno, Jr.
“Now that I look back, he wasn’t cocky, he was just very sure of himself,” Danielle Salerno said of her husband, John S. Salerno Jr., a broker at Cantor Fitzgerald. Back in high school, he was the last person she would have said she wanted to date. He was not shy. Once at a New Year’s Eve party, she walked past and he pinched her. When she gave him a how-dare-you look, he said, “You liked that, didn’t you?”
They both laughed.
Danielle married Pepe (a childhood nickname, inspired by his superabundance of pep). He was loyal and funny; he was generous; and he knew what he wanted. He wanted a family. Ms. Salerno held off for five years while they were living abroad in London and Tokyo. Now their first child is due in March. “Every night, he’d kiss my belly,” Ms. Salerno said.
A few weekends ago, the Salernos, who lived in Westfield, N.J., were in the Hamptons. Someone who knew them well observed that Mr. Salerno, who recently turned 31, was such a wise guy sometimes, it was a miracle that he had not gotten his tail kicked. And, Ms. Salerno recalled, “His best friend, Thomas, said that was because, by the end of the night, the guys who wanted to beat him up were buying him shots.”
Since Sept. 11, Rebecca Shum has adopted a vegetarian diet and started chanting Buddhist prayers. It is these religious rituals that help Shum cope with the loss of her husband, See-Wong Shum, who announced a week before the World Trade Center attacks that he was converting to Buddhism.
He made this decision after spending endless hours in the public library exploring texts about Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism.
“If I’m chanting, I feel like I’m connected with him somehow,” said Shum, who was not affiliated with any religious group before the terrorist attacks. “Somehow I feel like if I do something for him in the practice of Buddhism, I think that’s all I can do for him.”
Mr. Shum, 44, was on the 82nd floor of One World Trade Center when a hijacked airliner crashed into the building. The Westfield resident managed computer systems for New York Metropolitan Transportation Council and reportedly answered phones amid the chaos of that Tuesday morning.
Rebecca Shum did not get a chance to talk to her husband one last time. However, when she returned home that day after dropping their 3-year-old daughter Chanel off at nursery school, there was a message on the answering machine. There were no voices on the message, just the sound of wailing sirens in the background.
“I bet that might’ve been him,” she said.
Mr. Shum was a restless spirit who was always seeking new adventures. Raised in Hong Kong, Mr. Shum worked as a high school teacher, corrections officer and suicide hotline counselor. During his free time, he backpacked through Europe, China, Israel, Peru, Egypt and Thailand.
It was in Thailand where Mr. Shum was first exposed to Buddhism and meditated in a temple for the first time. He felt at peace there and wondered if he was a Thai monk in a previous life. But years would pass before he announced that he was Buddhist.
“Maybe he knew that something would happen to him,” Shum said.
After numerous career changes, Mr. Shum finally settled on a computer-related job and started working at the transportation council nine years ago. He rarely missed a day of work — taking off only to tend to his wife or children if they were sick.
These days, the couple’s 6-year-old son, Leon, is having problems sleeping and is disturbed by nightmares he has of a monster carrying a bomb. He insists he’s feeling better, but he cannot sleep unless the lights are on in his bedroom.
“I think so far he is handling it good, considering his age,” Shum said.
A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at the First Methodist Church, East Broad Street, Westfield.
In addition to his wife, son and daughter, Mr. Shum is survived two sisters, Christina Shum and Sandy Shum of Hong Kong, and his parents, Soo-Chu Cheng and Ching-Ho Shum of Hong Kong.
Cigars were a necessary accessory for Anthony Starita. He had one in his mouth when he went to beach, when he puttered around his backyard in Westfield, N.J., and when he relaxed on his deck every night after dinner. “He liked the flavor,” said his wife, Diane Starita. “He didn’t always actually smoke them, but he would just have one in his mouth to sort of chew on.”
Mr. Starita, 35, also chewed on coffee straws, mostly when he got nervous about a deal at his job as a government bond trader at Cantor Fitzgerald. “When he got a little nervous he put the straws in his mouth and he would start wiping his hands with napkins,” said Eddie De Castro, Mr. Starita’s longtime friend and former trading partner. “Those were his two things.”
Last year, Mr. Starita gave up his full- time golf membership at a country club so that he could spend more time with his wife and two children, Kaila, 6, and Jason, 3.
After the terrorist attacks, Mrs. Starita told the children that their father had gone to heaven. Kaila wondered why “does he have to be with God?” Mrs. Starita said. “My 3-year-old wanted to know if we could call Daddy in heaven.”