November 7, 2001: Features

Family and friends remember the alumni lost on September 11
Hail and Farewell

On September 11, 2001, close to 5,000 people were killed when hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a field outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. By the following month, families of 13 alumni had notified Princeton of their deaths in the terrorist strikes. What follows are their stories, told by friends who knew them and loved them.



Robert L. Cruikshank ’58, father of Douglas Cruikshank ’87 and brother of John Cruikshank ’55, was a vice president at Carr Futures.

Charles A. McCrann ’68 was a senior vice president for Marsh and McLennan.

William E. Caswell *75, a Navy physicist, was aboard American Flight 77.

Martin P. “Buff” Wohlforth ’76, son of Bob Wohlforth ’47, son-in-law of Dom Telesco ’52, and brother of Priscilla Stumm ’72, was a managing director for Sandler, O’Neill, & Partners.

Robert J. Deraney ’80, a consultant, was attending a breakfast meeting at Windows on the World.

Joshua A. Rosenthal *81 was a senior vice president for Fiduciary Trust.

Karen J. Klitzman ’84, sister of Robert Klitzman ’80, worked for e-Speed, a division of Cantor Fitzgerald.

Jeffrey D. Wiener ’90 worked for Marsh USA.

John T. Schroeder ’92 had recently joined Fred Alger Management as a Nasdaq trader.

Christopher N. Ingrassia ’95 was a partner with Cantor Fitzgerald.

Robert G. McIlvaine ’97, who worked for Merrill Lynch, was attending a conference on the 106th floor of Tower One.

Christopher D. Mello ’98, brother of J. D. Mello ’95, worked for Alta Communications and was aboard American Airlines Flight 11.

Catherine F. MacRae ’00, daughter of Cameron MacRae ’63, was a research analyst for Fred Alger Management.

Editor’s note: Traditional memorials for each of these alumni will appear in the Memorials section of PAW in subsequent issues.

On the web:

To share memories of these 13 alumni, please visit this special bulletin board at PAW Online.

Robert L. Cruikshank ’58

People who met Dad for the first time could never believe he was almost 65. He looked younger, and he certainly acted younger. He went on an Outward Bound trip in his 50s. He was also an avid golf and tennis player and skier. He taught me golf with the patience of a man who knows how difficult it is for a tennis player to learn golf. In tennis, he fancied himself the fastest man on the court – no matter who was playing. Upon putting away a particularly tough volley, he would proudly announce, “Fast hands: once you have ’em, you never lose ’em.” And when he would hit a drop shot that I was unable to reach, he would chide me saying, “A younger man would have been able to get that” – the implication being that had he been the one running for the drop, he would have gotten there.

The one place Dad’s youthful ways came back to bite him was with my daughter, Lindsey. Lindsey was his first grandchild, and he loved her dearly. The problem was the “G” word: Grandpa. We got to enjoy him cringing each time we suggested that Lindsey say hi to “old grandpa.”

Dad loved the financial markets. Beyond what was required as part of the various jobs he held during his career, Dad loved Wall Street. He liked talking about it, he liked hearing about it, and, most of all, he liked predicting its future. And I think that, knowing Dad’s sense of humor, he would say that while his timing on going to work that Tuesday was not ideal, given the market’s subsequent fall, his underweighting in equities was spot on.

One of the things Dad really enjoyed was beating the system – probably a function of his Scottish blood. He particularly loved gaming the airline mileage system. I think he saw it as a natural extension of his financial expertise – as an arbitrage opportunity that couldn’t be passed up.

In closing, while I’m not familiar with the actual logistics of traveling to Heaven, I am 100 percent sure of two things: 1) that Dad purchased the lowest-cost coach fare; and 2) that he found a way to upgrade, in advance, to First Class.

Goodbye, Dad. We love you so much.

By Douglas Cruikshank ’87

Donations can be made to Princeton University, the Robert L. Cruikshank ’58 Memorial Fund, Office of the Recording Secretary, Princeton University, Box 5357, Princeton, NJ 08543.


Charles A. McCrann ’68

It was Sunday, September 13, 1964, when I first met Charlie as freshmen swarmed through the entries of Pyne Hall. It took little time to spot his essential character: studious, conservative, and easygoing, with a puckish sense of humor. Charlie was adroit at making the best of any situation. Only summer job available was as a night janitor in Elizabeth, New Jersey? No problem; that provided quality time on the golf course during those free daytime hours. Vietnam War ended grad student deferments? Charlie found a National Guard unit, entered Yale Law School a year later, and as a result was involved in a mock trial organized by fellow student Hillary Rodham.

Charlie became involved in the insurance industry by happenstance, but excelled at it anyway, rising to senior vice president of Marsh & McLennan, Inc., where he worked in Midtown before relocating to 1 World Trade Center, 100th floor, just a few weeks before September 11. Before joining Marsh, Charlie did two important things in 1979: He married his wife, Michelle, and he produced, directed, and starred in the horror film Toxic Zombies. An online review summarizes the story line: “Government agents get killed by hippies and the government retaliates by spraying the forest with a toxic pesticide. The contaminated hippies turn into zombies and start killing everyone in sight. This video features many gory scenes and is entertaining.” I saw the movie on the USA network and roared at the occasional humor that Charlie, playing a government agent caught up in the zombies’ revenge, injected into a plot inspired by Night of the Living Dead.

In mid-September, a well-known movie mogul died, and I instinctively lifted the telephone to reminisce with Charlie about his days in that business. But Charlie is no more, and the unspeakable events of September 11 have denied us even a moment to whisper farewell to the dear friend I met on my first day at Princeton.

By Stephen T. Whelan ’68


William E. Caswell *75

I had the pleasure of being Bill’s Ph.D. thesis adviser at Princeton and soon learned that his modest demeanor and pleasant smile concealed considerable depths of talent. Bill’s graduate career coincided with a pretty exciting time in physics: What is now known as the standard model of strong and weak interactions had just taken shape and there were all kinds of interesting things waiting to be calculated. I suggested to Bill that he try to do one of them, but it turned out to be orders of magnitude more difficult than I had imagined. Leaving aside conceptual difficulties, enormous amounts of algebra were needed to organize the different pieces of this calculation, far more than could be reliably done by hand. So, on top of everything else, Bill had to invent new methods for computers to do the needed algebra, no small task in the age of punch cards and output on computer paper. By the time I was aware of how big the task was, Bill was irrevocably committed and I could only cross my fingers and hope that his quiet confidence was well founded. It was: Bill beat other, far more experienced teams to the correct answer. His result is in the textbooks, and his thesis paper has received hundreds of citations over the years.

After Princeton, Bill did important research in particle theory at Stanford, Brown, and the University of Maryland. In the early ’80s the vagaries of the academic job market led him to look for employment in applied science. I knew that the Navy needed a really smart scientist to advise on a classified advanced technology project and suggested Bill’s name. I was not privy to his day-to-day progress, but by all accounts, it was his thesis project all over again: Starting from zero, he rapidly rose to a position of overall scientific responsibility, leading a team of more than 100 scientists in some of the Navy’s most challenging research. His technical and management skills were held in the highest esteem by his colleagues and were officially recognized by major Navy awards and commendations. In a tragic irony, he was traveling for this project as a passenger on hijacked American Airlines Flight 77, and perished with all aboard when it crashed into the Pentagon.

Bill was an outstanding example of Princeton, and science, in the nation’s service. His death in the outrageous terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, was a tragic loss that will be mourned by his many friends and colleagues.

By Curtis Callan *64, James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Physics

Donations can be made to the Washington Family Relief Fund, c/o Riggs Bank N.A., Lincoln Office, 800 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006, or to the William Caswell Education Fund, Navy Federal Credit Union, P. O. Box 3001, Merrifield, VA 22119-3001.


Martin P. Wohlforth ’76

It’s too bad everyone wasn’t lucky enough to know Buff. They would have learned a lot.

They would have learned about Princeton. While it’s true that Buff may have fit certain Tiger stereotypes by being a serious student, fun-loving Cottage Club member, and talented varsity golfer, he was best known as an unpretentious and loyal friend to folks across the entire campus community. He was justifiably proud of being one of a family represented by many Princetonians, yet he wore it quietly without arrogance or competitiveness. He epitomized the Honor Code in every aspect of his life.

They would have learned about friendship. Buff liked everyone, and everyone liked Buff – probably because he seemed devoid of ill will toward anyone. Friendships with Buff were simple, natural, and valuable. Their depth became obvious over time, when it almost seemed strange how distance or separation could have so little effect.

They would have learned about modesty. After winning the alumni golf tournament at our 25th last June, most would have been anxious to tell others. Not Buff. He resisted others’ suggestions to announce the accomplishment and responded to inquiries with only a wink or knowing smile. It was the same with his success on Wall Street, where Buff typically commented that he was lucky to be in the right place at the right time and that anyone with a high school education could have done as well.

They would have learned about life’s priorities. Save for something carefully chosen for his family, Buff had little interest in things material or superficial. Rather than a BMW to impress others, Buff would select a VW because it best met his needs. Church and charity came not from obligation or guilt, but from the heart. In so many ways, and even though he’d be the last to tell you, it just seemed that Buff knew what was important in life.

Most of all, they would have learned about family. Buff’s devotion to family and home is legendary, so much so that many marvel at how the Wohlforths epitomize a “good old-fashioned” family in today’s crazy world. Buff didn’t “balance” other things against time with his wife, Susan, and daughter, Chloe, his parents, sisters, in-laws, and extended family (including all the friends whom he treated as family); the other things simply came in second.

It’s too bad that the terrorists didn’t know Buff. They would have learned a lot. They would have learned how tragically wrong they were.

By Bill Sawch ’76

Donations can be made to Princeton University, the Martin “Buff” Wohlforth ’76 Memorial Fund, Office of the Recording Secretary, Princeton University, Box 5357, Princeton, NJ 08543. The fund will benefit the Tiger varsity golf team.


Robert J. Deraney ’80

Perhaps more than ever, we can see the value of a man like Bob Deraney, who set kindness and consideration for others at the very center of his personality.

Bob was an American Lebanese who brought, to use an out-of-favor phrase, credit to both cultures. It is an especially frustrating irony that the people who ended his life were from the part of the world he labored so hard to understand. A Near Eastern Studies major, Bob taught at Lebanon International College as part of Princeton-in-Asia. Bob’s friend Amy Jaffe ’80 said that Bob was the only student who could be friends with the most ardent Zionist and the most radical Arab nationalist.

I met Bob our senior year when he was in a play I had coauthored and was directing for the Triangle Club. It was a job for which I lacked almost every necessary skill, and I depended on the support and imagination of our cast. No one helped me more than Bob. He gave a charming performance and brought a humanity to the role that did not exist in the writing of it. The comic highlight of the first act was a routine Bob did. He played a student in a drama school, and it was his character’s belief that every emotion had a special facial expression that went with it. He then asked a classmate to read him a list of emotions for which he would provide the appropriate expression. The classmate read the list at an insanely quick pace and the speed with which Bob changed his expressions earned a rousing round of applause every night.

A dazzling dancer and music lover, with a firm jaw that Dudley Do-Right might envy, Bob was, as Creigh Duncan ’80 recalled, “always surrounded by friends.” Joy Rotondi-Cann ’81 said he had an infectious joy, strong enough, as classmate Jeff LaBaw put it, to light up a room. He had on display what so many people strive to hide and protect: his humanity. One quickly sensed his interest in new people, his openness to other views, his ability not only to care but to act. When his sister Mimi had breast cancer, Bob found her an oncologist and surgeon. He accompanied her to chemotherapy and radiation appointments and helped her join Gilda’s Club, which provides counseling and solace for cancer patients and their families. One thing we can know about the unknowable events inside the twin towers on that black day: if he was able to, Bob was helping someone.

In a world as full of fury and ignorance as this one, it takes strength to be loving, to stay cheerful, to widen one’s focus beyond the tiny piece of property to which each of us so anxiously clings. It takes courage to choose compassion over passion, dancing over kicking. Bob was as strong and as brave as they come.

By Douglas McGrath ’80

Donations can be made to the Robert Deraney Scholarship Fund, c/o Valley National Bank, 200 Black Oak Ridge Road, Wayne, NJ 07470 Attn.: Ms. Margo Watson. Web site: robert_deraney/


Joshua A. Rosenthal *81

You had to know Josh.

There was the time my secretary passed me a message slip: “ ‘The Pope’ called you,” she muttered, clearly displeased at my caller’s refusal to leave his real name. Over time, his cheery manner wore her down. By the end of the summer, you could tell it was him: “Just a moment, your Holiness,” and she laughed. “It’s Josh,” she would call out to me.

He had that effect on people: Once you met him, you could not forget that gracious, goofy smile. Josh always saw each moment for its rich possibilities, both to learn and to laugh. In the Wilson School’s airy corridors, you would find him in all sorts of unlikely places, often in untenable positions: cradling way too many forgotten books while debating some point; in semi-hushed consultation standing on his chair leaning into the neighboring carrel; eating something none too portable in the middle of a class where everyone else had already eaten. Wherever he was always seemed to be right where he wanted to be.

And, no matter what else was going on, it was always fun to be with him. Not the kind of self-serving fun that made its source seem larger than life, but the kind that made room for everyone. On the way back to the Grad College he would often urge his companions to opine on the stark choice that confronted him: to go back and do his laundry or detour over to the bookstore and buy a new pair of underwear. (He confessed to us that he owned more than 30 pair of Princeton boxer shorts.) On a crowded Friday night waiting for a table at the Alchemist & Barrister, Josh gave the name of the dean of the Wilson School, then Donald Stokes, on the mistaken presumption that we would be seated more rapidly. Three beers later, we nearly missed our chance when the confused hostess wandered through the bar for the third time calling out: “Stokes! Stokes party of four!”

Josh saw the Wilson School not as just a place, but as a sort of stadium where ideas were tested for practical merit. He was the least ideological person you could find in those days, open to competing points of view, prone to take the other side just to see what it felt like.

And, yes, he was brilliant, a Truman Scholar who had just finished a stint working for a British Member of Parliament. As a mere summer intern at OMB, Josh’s analysis caused the Deputy Secretary of Energy to withdraw significant portions of his testimony on the funding of the Solar Energy Research Institute. But unlike many gifted peers, he never advertised such things.

You had to know Josh. For those of us who did, it is impossible to accept that this is all we will know of him. His life meant so much more than that.

By Thaddeus Huetteman *80

This remembrance originally appeared in the Woodrow Wilson School News.

Donations can be made to the University of Michigan, the Josh Rosenthal Scholarship Fund, c/o Susan Feagin, V.P. for Development, 3003 S. State Street, Suite 9000, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.


Karen Klitzman ’84

My sister disappeared in a cloud of smoke. She was murdered in the financial district by international terrorists. She was sitting in her office when an airplane hit her. None of it makes sense. It’s something that happens in a bad movie, or to other people. Not to someone I know and love, and grew up with. I look at her picture and it’s still hard to believe that she is gone.

I will always cherish memories of Karen — of her enthusiasm, vivacity, and wit. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,” she would say when she agreed with something, with a big smile, her head cocked to one side. She was courageous and strong. After graduation, she worked for Princeton-in-Asia, teaching English for a year each in Macao, and then Beijing, where I visited her. We spent the better part of a week together. She slept on a beanbag bed in a dorm of unpainted gray concrete walls. Her mail was opened and read by government censors. To bathe, she had to bicycle several blocks away to a communal shower — even in the middle of winter. Yet she persevered. When I arrived, she was glad to be taken to dinner to the few nice Western hotels there at the time. We traveled to the Great Wall, saw Chinese opera, and ate at restaurants that served nothing but mushrooms.

She went on to attend Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. Later, as the vice president for research for the New York Mercantile Exchange, she continued to journey all over the world.

Family was important to Karen. She made up nicknames for everyone in our family — I was “frère Robert.” When my apartment was being renovated for two weeks, I stayed with her, as did cousins from out of town and overseas at various other points. She always kept a big red plastic wagon of toys for our nephew. Each year, she hosted Chanukah and “break the fast” after Yom Kippur for our family at her house. For Chanukah, Karen would make potato latkes, piling colanders and bowls high with mounds of grated-up brown potatoes, as oil splattered, smoke billowed, and bits of potato covered everything. She loved food and cooking, as well as tennis, theater, and the opera.

Each year, for Thanksgiving and Passover, she would give me a lift from the Upper West Side to our cousins in New Jersey. In the car, we’d talk about our lives — just the two of us. Holidays will never be the same without her.

I know of someone who watched the attack on the World Trade Center from his rooftop in Greenwich Village. As the buildings burned and collapsed, he envisioned a long stream of spirits flying off to a better place. I know that Karen was among them.

By Robert Klitzman ’80

Donations can be made to Columbia University, the Karen Klitzman Fellowship, c/o Dean Lisa Anderson, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, 420 West 118th Street, New York, NY 10027.


Jeffrey D. Wiener ’90

Jeff and I were roommates our first and second years at Princeton. Whoever does the initial room draw knows their stuff – Jeff and I hit it off immediately, and were close friends ever since. Jeff was an usher at my wedding; I was an usher at his. Even when we lived across the country from one another, we always made time to stay good friends. I am still recovering from this great loss.

I don’t know how I am going to write this remembrance. When so much of your life is tied to another person, how can you find the right glimpse that says it all?

Jeff and I spent much of our time together while at Princeton. We were roommates, we were in Cloister together, we hung out all the time. Much of how I measured myself during this time was by comparison to Jeff – he was among the most dedicated, charitable, good people I know. At his memorial service, my wife, Jane Munzer Greenstein ’90, said it best: He’d give you the shirt off his back; if he didn’t have a shirt, he’d buy you one; if he couldn’t buy you one, he’d sew one for you.

At Princeton, Jeff was that guy who always worked harder than you, who was driven to excel in everything he did. One Thursday night freshman year, Jeff was working on a problem set due on Monday. I stole his textbook, leaving a note telling him to blow off work and have some fun (as I was doing that night). Instead, he trekked over to the E-Quad library at 10 p.m. to get another copy of the book. Jeff carried this dedication everywhere. Later he would pursue an M.S., then an M.B.A., both while working full time. I don’t know about you, but I can barely drag myself off the couch on a random Wednesday evening after work. Jeff would not rest until he had bettered himself, until he had achieved his goals.

Jeff’s life was transformed when he met his wife, Heidi. She liberated his soul. I have never seen a man made happier by a woman. Their life together was too short, but it was very sweet.

We will all miss him dearly.

By Gary Greenstein ’90

Donations can be made to the Children’s Library Fund at the Brotherhood Synagogue, 28 Gramercy Park S., New York, NY 10003—1799.


John Schroeder ’92

“Stinky.” Never has such an unflattering nickname been uttered with such genuine affection as it was for our classmate John Schroeder. He quietly relished his notable name and accepted all the duties that came with it. Chief among those was deciding if he would ever tell unwitting freshmen on the lacrosse team what his real name was.

Whether you knew him as Stinky or as John, he was much loved across the Princeton campus. Arriving as a bashful freshman in the fall of 1988, John had been deemed too slow to play Division I lacrosse. Coach Bill Tierney, however, saw undetected potential in him and urged John to come help a then-ailing lacrosse program and get a world-class education. John did both. He started as a freshman and won a national championship in his senior year. He compensated for his lack of speed with subtler forms of artistry on the field. John may have been a lumbering defenseman, but he had the stick skills of a darting attackman.

John’s imagination and creativity made him a wonderful lacrosse player, but those same qualities made him an even better friend, brother, and son. After games, John was usually seen on the sidelines flanked by his parents and surrounded by his three younger siblings. His shining blue eyes and his chronically sunburned legs always made for an endearing sight.

The enormous attendance at John’s memorial service in Northport, Long Island, served as a poignant indication of just how many people were touched by his generosity and loyalty over the course of his life.

At the entrance to the church, a black-and-orange Princeton lacrosse jersey bearing the number 14 was draped across a defenseman’s stick. It was a fitting symbol of what John was and will always be; of his blue eyes and his subtle artistry.

Princeton Lacrosse, Class of 1992

Donations can be made to Princeton through Annual Giving. Additionally, the men’s lacrosse team is working to establish the John Schroeder ’92 Memorial Scholarship Fund. Checks for this purpose made out to Princeton University can be sent to Coach Bill Tierney at Dillon Gym, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544.


Christopher N. Ingrassia ’95

People will remember the barrel chest, the wide shoulders, and of course, the baseball cap atop his head. His physical stature was intimidating, but ask any of the ladies who knew him and they’ll tell you, his dimpled smile and bright blue eyes were disarming.

Christopher Ingrassia was a big man, even beyond physique. You always knew when Chris was entering a room: not only by the eclipsing of the doorway, but by the many “Ingrass!” shouts that would erupt. Chris was the guy everyone couldn’t wait to see. He made everything more fun. He had a natural way of connecting with people, and he made all around him feel welcome. So often laughing, joking, and smiling, he was a joy to be around.

A wide mix of Princetonians expressed their concern and support to his family these past weeks, revealing the impact Chris had on people. From his football teammates, Forbes and 1901 hallmates, DEC members, fellow econ majors, to people he met on the street, he charmed everyone he encountered. He was bright, considerate, and generous. Those of us fortunate to have known him well, however, will best remember his wit and ever-present grin. He was quick with one-liners, impish practical jokes, and invented nonsensical words (Chris-speak, we called it).

He often said, “Go big or go home.” Chris did everything big, and it showed in his love for his family and friends, his love of the Giants, and his enthusiasm for life. To go big meant having to take chances occasionally. It was one of these chances that sent him to the London offices of Cantor Fitzgerald for four years. He had returned to their WTC offices this past February, and was made a partner in March.

During the time he was in London, we didn’t see him as often as we liked and we all looked forward to his trips home. Now, we all look forward to the day when the memory of Chris brings joy instead of sadness. We will get together without him, but we will never forget the many wonderful times we shared with our great friend.

By Dennis O’Dowd ’95 and Ed Franowicz ’95

Donations can be made to Princeton University, the Christopher Ingrassia Memorial Fund, Office of the Recording Secretary, Princeton University, Box 5357, Princeton, NJ 08543.


Robert G. McIlvaine ’97

On the day that Bob died, September 11, 2001, Bob and I had been roommates for eight years running, dating back to our very first day at Princeton. He was such a close friend, such a central figure in my life for so long, I don’t know how I can adequately begin to describe him or our friendship in such a limited space. Those who knew Bob well understand, silently, what a tremendous person not only we, but the world, lost. For those who knew him less well, or didn’t know him at all, all I can try to do is convey a sense of who Bob McIlvaine was.

It’s pretty safe to say that at Princeton, most people are “smart.” But, Bob — he was more than “smart.” To me, it appeared as if he entered Princeton already a seasoned academic. The guy devoured books: the fiction of Toni Morrison, essays by Cornel West, even stuff on business and Wall Street. His wide-ranging interests — in history, politics, race, and culture — were both profound and real. His mind was a sponge. Listening to Bob speak offhandedly about these subjects inspired those around him to deepen their own understanding of the world’s inner mechanisms.

His ferocious appetite for knowledge was suitably matched with incredible writing skills. For as long as I knew Bob, he harbored a secret desire to one day be a successful writer. Long after he had graduated from Princeton, Bob continued to explore ideas through his writing. Over the course of his life, he filled countless journals and later, yellow legal pads, which contained what he called “passages,” but which I’m pretty sure were the faint, first scribblings of a novel.

But Bob was more than a person of dazzling intellect. On a personal level, he invested heavily in all of his relationships, making sure that he took the time to deeply understand the people that were near and dear to him. As a close friend, he became an indispensable part of my everyday life, acting as a sort of moral compass, advising me on decisions, both large and small.

After talking with Bob’s friends, family, and coworkers I believe that amidst all the emotions, admiration is what people felt most for Bob. In many ways he represented a better version of our selves, of what we all strive to be. To many people, myself included, he was nothing short of a hero. Although I was never sure how, I always thought that Bob would one day become famous. An acclaimed novelist, a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, these accomplishments were all, I felt, fully within Bob’s reach. Everywhere he went, in everything he did, Bob excelled. Everything he set out to accomplish, he achieved. Bob was unstoppable.

He will always be remembered.

By Ken Senior ’97

Donations can be made to Princeton University, the Robert G. McIlvaine Memorial Fund, Office of the Recording Secretary, Princeton University, Box 5357, Princeton, NJ 08543.


Christopher D. Mello ’98

I first met Chris Mello during the third week of September 1994 at 13 Olden Street in Princeton. I last saw him the night of September 7, five weeks ago as this is being written, for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in Boston. We met as young kids who quickly struck up a friendship, nervously excited about college and arguing over sports as a New Yorker and a Bostonite should. Five weeks ago, we relaxed with each other as young men, enjoying professional life and talking about things like work, business school, marriage, and the like. In the seven years between those two nights, Chris Mello became my great friend and I was blessed to know him and love him.

Through my words here, I hope to give those who did not know Chris some insight into the enormity of the loss that his death represents. Newspaper and TV reports, in trying to almost quantify his potential, have repeatedly listed his impressive accomplishments in high school, in college, and in finance. What is harder but more important to understand is what it means to have lost his personality.

He was a singular friend, as well rounded as anyone I have known. His humor, his wit, his insights, his athletic ability, his passion and determination that were evidenced on the football field and on the rugby field, his good looks, his sensitivity, his extraordinary smile. There was so much to him, so much complexity and depth. Above all else was his incredible charisma. Charisma is the only word I can use to summarize his presence. Guys wanted him watching their backs, and girls wanted to be by his side. Without ever trying, he always ended up being one of the leaders of any group he was involved with.

The time was too short but the memories are many: a pledge trip to Delaware, a ski trip to Killington, Bid Day at Cottage, playing croquet on the back lawn during the Gatsby party, Hearts on the Bago, Spades in the Palmer Room, the morning of the 21 Club, seven reunions, annual golf trips to Hilton Head, an entire week in Nantucket in the pouring rain where all we could do was stare at each other and make jokes in order to keep our sanity.

I took our friendship for granted because it was so easy, so intuitive. We never had to try at our relationship, never competed, never had petty fights, and never contemplated one of us being here without the other. And now he is gone.

I would simply like to say that I was incredibly proud to be Chris Mello’s friend. I was proud to tell people he was my friend, proud to tell people that he was my roommate. I was proud to penetrate his toughness and know him for the funny, passionate friend that he was.

But it is wrong to say he is lost to us. I know Chris is still with me. I know that in the end I am a different and better person for having known someone so blessed and that he will be in my life forever. The terrible crime that took his physical presence from us has not taken Chris from us. His flame is obscured, not extinguished.

God bless you, Chris, and give me a call when you have a moment, ’cause I have a funny story to tell you. You’ll laugh, I swear. It will be good to hear your laugh.

By Chris Halpin ’98

Donations can be made to the Rye YMCA/In the Memory of Chris Mello, YMCA, 21 Locust Avenue, Rye, NY 10580.


Catherine F. MacRae ’00

How do you capture Cat in words? Impossible. How do you capture Cat in memories? As her roommate, you remember how Cat would leave flowers on your pillow along with a note expressing her love and loyalty. As her fellow Ivy member, you remember how Cat would light up the dinner table with her charm and self-deprecating wit. As her friend, you remember how Cat would ensure you received an invitation to every party she attended. As her squash teammate, you recall the match Cat won an hour after being drenched with champagne when she received a bid from Ivy. As her classmate, you remember the study snacks Cat would prepare for you. As her partner in life, you remember Cat’s infinite love. Most of all, as her family, you remember how Cat would give the world to spend one more hour with you.

Catherine Fairfax MacRae was a research analyst at Fred Alger Management on the 93rd floor of World Trade Center One. Only a year into her career, Cat had already passed Level One of the Chartered Financial Analyst Exam and was on the fast track to a promising future at the investment house. This was hardly surprising, as Cat always adhered to the highest of standards and did so without the slightest hint of pretension. She had the uncanny ability to achieve excellence with grace, style, and a sense of humor. If you had to sum up Cat in one word it would be love. Love for her family. Love for her friends. Love for humankind. Love for God. Though she was only given 23 years on this earth, she gave back so much more.

Cameron MacRae ’63 describes his daughter as “bright and beautiful, gentle and kind . . . the epitome of all that is good in the world.” This sentiment was clearly shared by the throngs of family, Princetonians, and other friends who journeyed in stormy weather to Cat’s memorial service at St. Andrew’s Dune Church, nestled in the sand dunes of Southampton, New York. Just before the service began, the rain subsided and the 40-mile-an-hour gusts settled down into a gentle breeze. And during the service, as the speakers recalled Cat’s boundless love and generosity, sunlight flooded the church in a way church parishioners had never witnessed. It was Cat’s love once again.

By Andrew Caspersen ’99

The Catherine Fairfax MacRae Fund has been established to honor Cat’s life as well as to help alleviate the causes and effects of future terrorist acts. Tax deductible contributions may be sent c/o Cameron MacRae, LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae, 125 West 55th St., 16th Floor, New York, NY 10019.

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