11 September 2006

In Honor of Patricia Massari

Posted in events, Uncategorized at 12:28 am by Tricia

Patricia MassariNearly 3000 people died as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11th. Every single one of them had family and friends and neighbors, all affected by a life that was cut short. Every one of those victims had a name.

One of those people was Patricia A. Cimaroli Massari. On September 11th, 2001, she was 25 years old and working as a capital analyst for Marsh & McLennan on the 98th floor of the World Trade Center, Tower One. As mentioned in her New York Times Portraits of Grief profile, she had two important tests that day. In the evening, she was going to take a test in world civilization at Berkeley College where she was studying for Bachelors in Business Administration degree. And in the morning before work, she took a home pregnancy test, and got to inform her husband Louis that they were expecting their first child (read more in this profile at the MMC employee memorial). Surprised by the positive result, she stopped to get another test on her way to work, and was talking to her husband about it on the phone when the tower was hit. Her husband not only lost his wife that day, he lost his first chance at fatherhood. Her parents, Richard and Anna Cimaroli (who appeared on Larry King in 2002, transcript here) lost a daughter and a potential grandchild. The tribute page at MMC features a poem from her husband, along with this heart-wrenching quote:

“I would switch spots with her tomorrow,” he said. “Because then our family could go on.”

Because of the circumstances – that unborn child growing in her womb – she has been featured in many stories and TV shows and at least one book. Her story is memorable and tugs at your heart strings. But even beyond this memorable aspect, there is more to Patricia Massari, more we should remember.

I found two more pictures of her on various web sites.

Patricia MassariPatricia Massari

As her dad said, she had a million-dollar smile. You can certainly see that smile in the pictures. When I look at these pictures, I see a happy, vivacious woman. And vivacious she was, it seems. Glendale, NY, renamed part of a street in her honor (search Google Maps for “Catalpa Ave & 64th St, Queens, NY 11385″ to see it – but note that the map still shows the old name). According to this Times News Weekly news story about the event:

“The unselfish, always happy Cimaroli-Massari, 25, was known for her beautiful smile, infectious laugh and the twinkle in her eye. Friends and family used to call her ‘The Mayor’ because this extreme cat lover had so many friends in her neighborhood.”

She already had an associate’s degree from Berkeley College, and had returned to pursue a BBA. Earlier that year, in May 2001, she had been named the College’s Alumna of the Year. Because of her connection to the school, her family set up a scholarship in her name, as described in this news story. Her parents and husband are shown here with the first recipient and the 2005 recipient is shown in this press release from the college. I don’t know if the scholarship is still accepting donations, but the first two articles have an address for the fund.

Although I never knew Patricia Cimaroli Massari, I feel honored to remember her life by participating in the 2996 project. When I first learned about the project, I started looking at the 9/11 Victims Memorial Quilt (my mom is a quilter, and I’ve made blocks for a couple quilts honoring friends and family). I suppose you could say I was doing ‘vanity surfing’, by searching for names I know (including my own first name). This one in particular caught my eye. The woman’s first name is Patricia, and I noticed that it mentioned “and unborn child”. (I noticed later that the number for her block is 1997, the year my first child was born.) I wanted to know her story, so I asked to be assigned this person. What I didn’t realize at the time was that this woman – Patricia Massari, Trish to friends and family – had been profiled on TV shows and a book (titled 102 Minutes) and numerous newspaper articles. As I did research and her story unfolded, I felt humbled. I worried that I couldn’t do her story justice. But how can those of us who never met these people really do them justice? How can we know of the passion that moved them through life, the things that brought them joy, the things that made them laugh? We can’t. We can’t tell their entire story. We can’t capture the essence of the person. We can direct you to other sources as I have done here, each capturing a tiny bit. But what we can do is help keep alive their memory by knowing their names.

2996 Project Badge (flag)

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12 Comments »

  1. Colleen Massari Zollo said,

    I am patricia massari sister inlaw, her husband’s sister. I am so touched by your tribute to patricia Thank you for keeping her memory alive may god always bless you.

    sincerly Colleen Zollo

  2. Trish was such a big part in my life and I miss my best friend terribly. Your tribute to Trish is something so very special. I know almost 7 years later the pain of losing such a wonderful person is still there, and coming across your blog gives, myself, a little hope that Trish will never be forgotten. Of course her family and friends could never forget such a wonderful soul but it’s the world that needs to remember the loss of Patricia Cimaroli-Massari.
    A girl who loved to dance in the car when a good song came on, someone who loved to sing along with the music. A person that was more thoughtful then anyone I knew.
    A woman who loved animals but hated bugs, an intelligent being who was wise beyond her age, someone who I’ll never forget..
    I miss her still…

  3. Tricia said,

    Janis and Colleen, I’m sorry for your loss. I’m so sorry you were smacked by the tragedy of 9/11. I’m glad my tribute was able to give you some comfort and hope. She must have been an amazing sister-in-law and friend.

  4. Siddo said,

    I’m really sorry for the loss. For all the victims. R.I.P.

  5. John DeRosalia said,

    Richard, Ann, Blake and Luis,
    I have been a Financial Advisor for the last 10+ years, I was also very close with Patricia for a long time when we were younger. Blake and I would race Model Cars up an down the street while she smiled with that “Million Dollar Smile” and slowly went nuts probably… I was out of the country long passed Sept 11, and today I was challenged to recall my first serious Girlfriend and knew right away… Patricia Ann Monique Cimaroli.
    I helped pick out Monique…
    I am so sorry for everyone including my own family for losses on that day, but I gotta tell you, I am most sorry about the loss of Patricia. You have my love and my humblest condolenses…

    John DeRosalia

    • Tricia said,

      John, I’m sorry for your losses – thanks for sharing your memories of Patricia.

  6. Thank you so much for keeping my dear friend Trish’s memory alive. In September 10 years will pass that we lost such a beautiful person.It still feels like yesterday. I am grateful to have known Trish since first grade and grow up with her and her brother Joe. She was an absolutely amazing person and anyone who came in contact with her would tell you the same. She did indeed have a “million dollar smile” my biggest memories of Trish were our JHS/HS days when we would go “hang-out” in Madison Park and watch the boys play handball and talk about our future endeavors and just talk. Im so sad that she was cheated and cut short on so many things. As I write this I just found out that today she became an Aunt. Her brother had a lil boy named Joe. I know she is watching and embracing that lil boy with her presence. I miss her so much and just wish that one day we can all be together just sitting on a swing amongst the stars.

    • Tricia said,

      Lisa, I’m sorry you lost such a special friend. I always appreciate hearing from those who knew Patricia Massari – it helps remind all of us how big an impact that event had on ordinary people.

  7. Just dropping by to tell Trish that Im thinking about her and keeping her memory very vivid in my mind as we approach the 10th anniversary. Kayla saw your picture today and wanted to know who you are. She’s only 4. You would have loved to meet her. I took out the old photo album and told her stories about our growing up years and “madison park” days. After we talked about you she said, “Wow Mommy, your friend is pretty amazing! She has beautiful smile, she must have been a real spectacular person!” yes those words did come out of my 4 year old, it was bitter sweet, didnt know whether to cry or laugh. Luv ya Trish!

  8. michelle pearson said,

    I only met Tricia twice when I came to visit in New York with my ex husband Vinny ! She was such a delight and so sweet and warm ! I will never forget that day or her smile 🙂 God bless you all !

  9. Jose D. said,

    I worked with Louis at Fedex and shared a route with him. I never heard someone speak so lovingly of their loved one, every single day. I felt like I knew Patricia. I remember seeing all the childhood pictures of Louis and Patricia and how it seemed since childhood that they were destined to be married. My condolences to the entire family.

  10. Karen Hinkes Levine said,

    I am a volunteer docent at the 9/11 museum. Each week I walk around the memorial and read the names.mi just started picking a name and researching that persons story and putting it on my fb page so people see more than a total number..they get to know the individuals. Today I picked Patricia’s name. What a beautiful woman and what a loss to they family.I will keep her and her family in my thoughts and prayers. May her memory be a blessing to all who knew her


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