Mourning for the far-too-many victims of 9/11

Ariel Jacobs never got to meet his son, born six days after he was killed


Hope faded to grief this week as many locally who waited for word of loved ones who disappeared when the twin towers fell realized they were not coming home.

The number of local families in mourning grew from five to at least eight last week, as city officials revised upward the list of those missing in the rubble left by the two jetliners who smashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.

Six days after the attack, the first child of the missing was born.

Gabriel Benjamin Jacobs will never meet his father, Ariel Jacobs, who grew up on Johnson Avenue. The executive vice president for Caplin Services, he had arrived for a conference at the Windows on the World restaurant atop the first tower minutes before the hijacked airliner crashed into the building.

Jacobs had called his wife Jenna from his car at 8:15 a.m., to let her know he was running late, and tell her he loved her. It was the last time she heard from him.

“Now I have a beautiful son that looks just like him,” Jenna said. “He is the love of my life, but nothing is going to replace Ariel. My son is not going to replace him. He’s an addition.”

The couple would have celebrated their first anniversary on Sept. 23. Jacobs would have turned 30 on Sept. 16 — five days after he disappeared.

The Jacobs family recently moved to Westchester County, but Ariel’s parents — Melvin and Sylvia Jacobs — still live in Riverdale. Sylvia sings with the Riverdale Choral Society. Her son marked his bar mitzvah on the pulpit of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale with Rabbi Avi Weiss, the synagogue’s spiritual leader.

The family has established a fund to raise money for Gabriel’s college education. Ariel Jacobs had no life insurance.

“Who thinks of life insurance when they are 29?” asked Dan Jacobs, Ariel’s older brother. He said that his brother had planned to buy a policy after his son was born.

Alan Richman worked on the 99th floor of Tower One. There are no known survivors from that floor.

His family combed the downtown hospitals for three days, searching for the Henry Hudson Parkway resident.

They gave up looking last Friday.

“My mother and I know that he is gone,” said Jane Gewant, Richman’s sister.

Richman, 44, was vice president of Marsh and McLennan. He grew up in Riverdale, attending P.S. 24 and Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy, and celebrated his bar mitzvah at Riverdale Temple.

His father, the late Martin Richman, was well-known in Riverdale. He ran for local office as a Republican to “keep the Democrats honest,” he would say, and was an active participant in veterans groups, and at Riverdale Temple and other Jewish organizations.

The Riverdale B’nai B’rith Humanitarian Awards are named for Martin Richman.

Alan was very close to his family, Gewant said. He had telephoned his mother Ruth, who lives on Hudson Manor Terrace, to say goodnight on the eve of the attack.

In April, Richman kept a vigil while his father lay dying of cancer.

“Alan was the only one my father wanted at the end,” Gewant said.

Kathryn Shatzoff, 37, worked in Tower One for Marsh and McLennan. Her husband Neil said good-bye that morning as she left for her office on the 100th floor. He said that no one on her floor survived.

Neil Shatzoff runs Magnum Comics and Card on Riverdale Avenue. He and his wife had lived on West 235th Street for 16 years.

“I have been with her for half of my life,” he said. “And it was the better half of my life.”

Paul Tegtmeier was a firefighter assigned to Ladder 46 in Kingsbridge, but was rotated several months ago to Engine 4, which was one of the first companies to respond to the attack.

All 13 men on the truck — including Tegtmeier, 41, are missing, said Ladder 14 captain Richard Lee.

Tegtmeier became a firefighter at 40, leaving a job at the telephone company — taking a pay cut to fight fires.

“We always teased him: ‘Why would you want to come to this job when you are 40 years old?’” Lee said.

But Tegtmeier seemed happy at the firehouse, and the captain remembered him with a perpetual smile.

Tegtmeier lived in Hyde Park with his wife Cathi, a nurse. They have two children, 3 and 6.

Emergency Service Unit Truck 4, which is headquartered at the 50th Precinct station house on Kingsbridge Avenue, was one of the first rescue crews to respond to the attack.

Sgt. John Coughlin, 43, and Officer John Driscoll, 38, were among the workers who rushed into the first tower after it was hit.

Both are missing.

Coughlin lived with his wife and three daughters in Rockland County. Driscoll was married with one son. He lived in Putnam County.

Originally published Sept. 27, 2001