Monday, September 11, 2006

2,996 Project: I Remember Dwight Donald Darcy

Today on this fifth anniversary of 9/11, I, along with thousands of other bloggers will be posting our tributes for Project 2,996.

Started by Dale Challener Roe, Project 2,996 honours the victims of 9/11 through 2,996 volunteer bloggers who write a tribute post, celebrating one of the lives of the 2,996 who perished on that day.

Today I remember Dwight Donald Darcy. I want to tell you what I have learned about him.



LIFE & HISTORY:

Dwight Donald Darcy, 55, was the senior attorney at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He resided in Bronxville, NY with his wife, Veronica, and sons, Kieran and Ryan. He is also survived by his sister Joan D. Sorgi of Darien, CT; his brother Keith T. Darcy of Pound Ridge, NY; his aunt Claire Menagh of Manhattan; his uncle George Kindermann of New London, NH; and several nieces and nephews.

Dwight was a Bronx native, graduated from Fordham Prep, Fordham University, and the Fordham University School of Law. He began his legal career as an Assistant D.A. in the Bronx in 1971, and joined the Port Authority in 1977. While at the Port Authority, Dwight specialized in labor relations, serving for many years as the Head of the Labor Relations Division.

Dwight was very active in charitable works in New York City. He served as president of the Catholic Big Brothers of NY, as well as, the president of the Parish Council of St. Joseph's Church in Bronxville. Dwight was also voted a life member of the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of NY, and made an affiliate member of the Marist Brothers for his many years of service on the board of Mt. St. Michael Academy in the Bronx.

WHAT WAS DWIGHT LIKE?

"We kind of grew up together at the authority," said his friend and colleague Jeffery Green, the general counsel for the authority's legal team, made of up 75 lawyers. "He was very calm and logical and had a good sense of humor," Green said.

Outside of work, Darcy followed his favorite sports teams: The New York Yankees, the New York Giants and college basketball teams, Green said. "He was a devoted father and sports fan. He was a very big Yankee and Giants football fan. I would see him at the games."

Darcy had a way of winning people over. "Everyone who met him liked him. He took pride in his work and his family. He was a really good individual," Green said.

I received an email from someone who knew Dwight. They had this to say:

I first met Mr. Darcy in 1968. I was a Freshman at Mt. St. Michael Academy, a private Marist (Catholic) High School in the Bronx, NY. Although he had a Law degree, Dwight Darcy started his working life as an English teacher at the “Mount”. I had him for English 1 that year. I was very interested in history, and Mr. Darcy made it a point, during his lectures, to not only teach the fine points of English Grammar and Composition, but also expounded on American and World History, to which he added a large dose of Morals and Ethics. I was always fascinated by the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and made it a point to have discussions with him on these topics, even outside of class hours. He was an excellent role model, and I considered him an inspiration and mentor. He was a dynamic and dedicated teacher, and he had a profound effect on me. He is one of the few teachers I ever had, that I truly remember with fondness.

When I heard that he left teaching to practice law for the Port Authority, I knew that he was really following his true love, which he considered the true arena of human interaction. But I knew that future students would lose the opportunity to meet a truly remarkable person.

On 9-11, I was overwhelmingly heartbroken to learn that he did not survive the attack. It seemed like a horribly cruel injustice. Here was a man who was so kind, so dynamic, so profound, and so cognizant of the needs of others, who was caught up, with so many unfortunate others, in the effects of incredible madness and evil, and the result an overwhelming hatred of all mankind. I really could not believe it had actually happened. But I remember him with honor and respect, and with a deep sense of loss.

I hope this helps in illustrating the truly excellent person that he was.

Michael Cutrera

Opera was one of his great loves, Veronica Darcy said, and the couple frequently attended performances at the Met and the City Opera with groups organized by Mr. Darcy's Fordham University alumni group and by the New York Athletic Club, where he was also a member.

Like many others who were there, Dwight lived with the memory of the 1993 WTC bombing. It bothered him for years, said his wife, Veronica. "Every time there was a bang, he would jump," she said.

WHAT HAPPENED THAT FATEFUL DAY?

Dwight worked on the 66th floor of the North tower. Although I was unable to find specific details of what happened to him, Michael Cutrera, may have known:

There is an interesting postscript. In late May 2003 I was traveling by train from Philadelphia to Chicago. During dinner, in the club car, I overheard a woman, who was sitting at the table behind me, telling her traveling companion that she worked for the Port Authority, and that she was at the WTC when the 1st plane hit on 9-11. I turned around and introduced myself, and asked, that if she didn’t mind talking about that horrible day, if she knew Dwight Darcy. It turned out she did know him, and that she worked in his department. I asked if she knew any details about his fate on that day. She told me that he had had foot surgery in the weeks prior to the attack, and that his foot was still in a cast. She thought that, because of his limited mobility, he could not negotiate the stairway and therefore could not escape the tower. I asked how she herself survived. She stated that she was a heavy smoker, and had gone to the ground floor for a cigarette that morning, and so was standing on the sidewalk in front of the WTC when the plane struck. My first comment on hearing this was that despite their well-deserved reputation for causing bad health, this one particular cigarette had in fact actually saved her life that day.


Dwight, may you Rest in Peace.

To Dwight's Family, I am sorry for your loss. I really liked being a part of this project because although I didn't know Dwight, through researching his life and doing this tribute really made me wish that I had known him. I'm sure he is greatly missed and will continue to be remembered on this fifth anniversary of his death.

Sources: New York Times, Legacy.com, Cf.Newsday.com

5 Comments:

Blogger sharon said...

Hi,

What do you suppose are the odds of two Canadian female Tories named Sharon writing a tribute to two different graduates of Fordham in Bronxville, NY? Nice tribute, thorough and compassionate. (Reminds me that I didn't put my sources - should I?) I had to fight tears the whole time I was writing it. May they all rest in peace.

Mon Sep 11, 12:19:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Spitfire said...

I put sources in, in case someone contacts me and is like, "uuhhh no I never said that, no he wasn't like that" etc... Also because I got everything from a second source.

Small world I say with our tributees! May they all rest in peace, Amen.

Mon Sep 11, 12:22:00 AM EDT  
Blogger keda said...

a lovely tribute to a wonderful teacher.
thank you.

Mon Sep 11, 09:01:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Canadi-anna said...

Your tribute is so detailed. You've done great work harvesting info and presenting it.

Navigating the stairs would have been hard for him with the cast on. He probably worried about getting in the way and slowing others.

I always wonder about the people who experienced the first WTC bombing. Do you think maybe they wouldn't have hurried because they might have figured if they weren't hit in the initial blast, they'd be okay.
Thanks for dropping by. I promise I will get to your paper shortly.
2996 was such a worthwhile project. I've been going through them by number since yesterday and I'm only in the 70s. I plan to keep going until I'm done, but as you're well aware -- I'm a snail at full gallop.

Tue Sep 12, 06:25:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for remembering "Uncle Dwight"

Sat Sep 24, 02:44:00 AM EDT  

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