Six years later: Remembering Sept. 11

Six years ago today, six UNC alumni were killed in the terrorist attacks that hit U.S. soil and claimed almost 3,000 lives. In memory of those alumni and the others killed on Sept. 11, 2001, members of the UNC community will gather to dedicate a garden at 11:30 a.m. today, across from Carmichael Residence Hall. The ceremony will feature the Army, Naval and Air Force Color Guard, plus remarks from Chancellor James Moeser. A plaque on the garden's cornerstone will carry the names of the UNC alumni killed: Karleton Douglas Beye Fyfe, financial analyst, American Airlines Flight 11, UNC '92; Mary Lou Hague, financial analyst, on 89th floor of the South World Trade Center Tower, UNC '96; Andrew Marshall King, partner and currency trader, North Tower, UNC '83; Ryan Ashley Kohart, in the same North Tower office as King, UNC '98; Dora Menchaca, research scientist, American Airlines Flight 77, UNC '78; and Christopher Quackenbush, investment banker, South World Trade Center Tower, UNC '79. There also will be a candlelit vigil tonight in the Pit. From "In Memory: DTH Remembers Lost Alums" published Sept. 11, 2002: Karleton D.B. Fyfe -- Class of 1992 Karleton Douglas Beye Fyfe loved to laugh. He loved to be with friends and family. But more than anything, he loved to be alive. "He loved getting up in the morning," said Bill Tammeus, Fyfe's uncle. "He loved life." Fyfe, of Brookline, Mass., graduated from UNC in 1992 with a double major in economics and philosophy. On Sept. 11, his life ended abruptly aboard American Airlines Flight 11 -- the first of two airplanes to crash into the World Trade Center. Fyfe not only made the best of his life but also made life more enjoyable for the people around him. Tammeus said Fyfe had a "magnetic personality," and the people who knew him always wanted to be near him. "You were attracted to him because he was attracted you," Tammeus said. "He was interested in you; you mattered to him. He really made people feel welcome in his presence." Barbara Fyfe, Fyfe's mother, said he always made an extra effort to get to know people better. "He made people feel special when they were talking to him, or he'd go to them and make them feel special," Barbara Fyfe said. Fyfe's mother said her son's ability to see people's important qualities was a source of pride for her. "He really saw the goodness in people," Barbara Fyfe said. "It didn't matter what you looked like. As his mom, that made me proud." In addition to his warm personality, Fyfe also had an outstanding sense of humor, said Caleb Southern, a friend of Fyfe's and a fellow UNC alumnus. "He had a unique brand of humor and a quick wit," Southern said. "He could find humor in all sorts of situations." Tammeus said Fyfe's sense of humor centered around the "absurdities" of life, particularly making a satire of flaws in American culture. "He would see athletes making millions of dollars, but they're unable to deliver one coherent sentence in an interview," Tammeus said. "He'd shine the light of satire on situations." Tammeus said when Fyfe wasn't at work as a senior analyst for John Hancock, he spent most of his free time with his wife, Haven, a 1994 UNC graduate, and his son, Jackson, who will be 2 years old in February. "In recent years, Karleton devoted a lot of his time to Jackson and Haven," Tammeus said. "They were a little bit of homebodies. They loved to be at home and spend quiet time together. They liked to talk on the phone and e-mail family, stay connected." Tammeus also said Fyfe found out Sept. 9 that his wife was pregnant with the couple's second child. "They were looking for a new house so they would have space for the new baby," Tammeus said. Fyfe's friends and family have done a number of things to memorialize his life. In November, a group of Fyfe's college friends decided to create a scholarship in his name. The Karleton D.B. Fyfe Scholarship, organized by a friend of Fyfe's, will be awarded to UNC students majoring in economics and philosophy -- Fyfe's majors. "We thought it would be a good way to remember him and help the school in his name," Southern said. Friends and family of Karleton Fyfe said they would remember the young man in their own ways as someone whose zest for life set him apart. "Just living made him happy," Barbara Fyfe said. "He loved to live." Mary Lou Hague -- Class of 1996 Although Mary Lou Hague's life was taken in the Sept. 11 attacks, her friends say she did not waste a second of her tragically shortened life. "She was the kind of person who lived life to the fullest," said her friend and sorority sister Heather Fain. "If she loved something, she loved it with her whole heart -- with every fiber of her body." Mary Lou Hague, a 1996 UNC graduate, was working on the 89th floor of the second tower of the World Trade Center in New York as a financial analyst with the investment banking firm Keefe, Bruyette, and Woods. Originally from Parkersburg, W.Va., Hague attended UNC's business school and graduated with a degree in business administration. While in Chapel Hill, Hague was a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority, where she served as treasurer for two years, a participant in student government, and a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society. Friends said Hague loved all UNC had to offer -- from basketball games to the beautiful campus. She loved Michael Jordan and even used his number as her answering machine code. Fain remembered that one summer, when Hague worked as a golf cart girl at the Governor's Club, Jordan came to play golf. Hague got his autograph and her picture taken with him. When later hearing the story, Fain said she wanted a copy of the picture, but Hague, ahead of the game, had already made copies for all her friends. While in New York, Hague was busy with her various activities -- her job, traveling, volunteering for the Junior League and being a member of Piping Rock Country Club. But one thing that her friends valued was her loyalty to them despite her busy schedule. Burleson said when she had her baby, Hague was the first person to come and visit her. "Literally, I pushed my baby out, and Mary Lou got there," she said. Burleson said Hague was always up for something fun and crazy. On a boring February day, Burleson encouraged Hague to put her hair in pigtails and put on crazy makeup. Then the two coeds ran down Franklin Street in wacky clothes. "She was just that type of person," Burleson said. "She would never have done that by herself, but to have fun, she was more than willing to do it with me." It was Hague's supportiveness with a touch of craziness that her friends said they found so endearing. It was the notes she would leave on Burleson's pillow while they were college roommates or the nicknames she made up for each of her friends. While maintaining great relationships, Hague also excelled at her job. She had been quoted in American Banker magazine, and after her death, a Puerto Rican bank that she had been working with planned to dedicate their bank to her. Whether it came to her job or her relationships, Hague never did any thing half-heartedly. Hague's passionate outlook on life showed the weekend before the Sept. 11 tragedy, when she spent $1,500 on Michael Jackson tickets. "She told me she was seven rows behind him," Fain said. "When we were going through her stuff from her apartment, we found out that she had already gotten her pictures developed." Friends said Hague's uniqueness was in her spontaneity and desire to have a great time. "She just lived life to the fullest," Burleson said. "I know people say that about a lot of people, but Mary Lou really did it." Andrew King -- Class of 1983 Andrew Marshall King, 42, was a man of many passions -- and nearly as many names. King's co-workers at the bond-trading firm Cantor Fitzgerald recognized his enthusiasm and tagged him "Kinger" to complement his outgoing attitude. King, a 1983 UNC graduate who lived in Princeton, N.J., was the president of the ESpeed desk at Cantor Fitzgerald. He was working in their World Trade Center offices on Sept. 11 when his life tragically ended. Before his death, King had established a legacy of committing himself intensely to both his work and his loved ones. He grew up in St. Charles, Ill., where he was known to his friends and family as Andy. His mother regarded him as her "shining star," and his father instilled in him a love for golf, a passion that King would embrace his entire life. In 1999, King and his older brother Spencer took their father golfing in Scotland to celebrate his 70th birthday. "He told me the two-week vacation was one of the most memorable moments in his life," said Judy King, his wife of 15 years. Judy also recalled another memorable trip from March 1986 -- the Colorado skiing excursion where she first met King. She said she and a group of friends were leaving the airport when King convinced them to let him ride in their limousine. "Here he was, horning his way into a car full of girls, but it was love at first sight," she said. King proposed one month later during a trip to Bermuda, and the couple wed six months after meeting. Judy said the sport that brought she and her husband together later became an integral part of their married life. "I would say skiing was the most important sport we all enjoyed together as a family," she said. "We took ski vacations every year to a different resort." From family ski vacations to everyday interactions, King was very close to his three children. To them, he was known simply as Dad. His oldest daughter, CeCe, 14, is an equestrian who dotes on her chestnut quarterhorse, while Carly, 5, the youngest, was used to getting doted on as "Daddy's Little Girl." King's son, Drew, 11, is an avid lacrosse and basketball player. In 2001, he attended a UNC summer basketball camp held by Matt Doherty, one of King's good friends during his time at UNC. Judy said Drew has also inherited some of his father's skill at golf. "He had a hole in one at the age of 9, the youngest person to do so at our club," she said. Judy said she and CeCe plan to take up golf as a way of keeping King's memory alive. But she is not concerned that he will be forgotten. More than 1,200 people attended King's memorial service Sept. 19, 2001. Many of these were King's classmates and Alpha Tau Omega fraternity brothers from UNC, who knew him as "AK." Judy said King, who transferred to UNC his junior year from Georgetown University, fell in love with the campus after visiting a good friend. She said he often referred to his three years at UNC as the highlight of his life. Judy said she was not surprised to see the commitment that King's friends displayed even after death. He always surrounded himself with friends, she said. Growing up, he was Andy. His coworkers at Cantor Fitzgerald branded him "Kinger." At UNC, he was known simply as AK. His children knew him as Dad. To Judy, he will always be Andrew. But she says that no matter what people called him, one thing remains the same for those who knew him. "He is surely missed by all." Ryan Kohart -- Class of 1998 During his four years at UNC, Ryan Ashley Kohart was always busy. Kohart was captain of the men's lacrosse team, a member of a fraternity, and he studied abroad -- but he's remembered as someone who always made time for his friends and family. "He always surrounded himself with people he loved," said his fiancee, Melissa White. "If you want what symbolized Ryan, it was love, family, friends and fun." Kohart, a 1998 graduate, was one of the six UNC alumni killed when four hijacked airplanes crashed on Sept. 11. At the time, he was working on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center's north tower as an equities trader for Cantor Fitzgerald. So many of Kohart's friends -- about 1,500 -- came to his Sept. 29 memorial service that the crowd overflowed into the basement of the Cathedral of Incarnation in Garden City, N.Y., said Kohart's father, Geoffrey. Kohart was a New York native who came to UNC on a lacrosse scholarship and earned his degree in political science. He was a men's lacrosse co-captain, a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity and spent a semester abroad in Florence, Italy. Kohart's lacrosse coach discouraged him from studying abroad, thinking that the trip, the team and his schoolwork, would be overwhelming. But Kohart was determined to experience as much as possible during college, his father said. So he went abroad anyway. Geoffrey Kohart said such headstrong behavior was typical of his son. For example, when the lacrosse team ate pre-game meals at Squids, Kohart would walk across U.S. 15-501 to Burger King, his favorite restaurant. The move frustrated his coach because fast food wasn't the proper diet for training, but Kohart didn't care. "He ate at Burger King morning, noon and night," Geoffrey Kohart said. Kohart's father said his son's time in Italy made a lasting impression on him. He even flew White there so he could propose to her on the island of Capri. "Italy was just amazing," White said. "Ryan planned the entire trip. Everything was so beautiful." While Kohart was living in Chapel Hill, his father said he always looked out for his younger brother, Brett Kohart, a 1999 graduate. Kohart also was survived by two older brothers, Geoff Jr. and Adam, and his mother, Joy. What White said she remembers most about Kohart is his kind and caring nature. "He was so loving -- I just couldn't ask for a better husband," she said. "He even helped me plan the entire wedding." After Kohart's death, White decided to establish the Ryan Kohart Memorial Scholarship Fund, which will provide a scholarship to one men's lacrosse player each semester. Sue Walsh, vice president for endowment for the Educational Foundation, said the fund already has accrued more than $65,000, an unusually large sum. "Normally on these memorials you get contributions for a couple of weeks, but on this one, we're still getting stuff in almost every day," she said. "It's just amazing." The minimum amount to permanently establish a scholarship is $75,000, and Walsh said she is certain that Kohart's fund will meet that goal. Geoffrey Kohart said the fact that so many people have donated to the fund shows how well-liked his son was. "I was proud of Ryan -- he was a good kid." Dora Menchaca -- Class of 1978 Dora Marie Menchaca devoted her life to the care of others. Menchaca, who received her masters' degree from UNC's School of Public Health in 1978, was a loving wife and mother of two. But she also had a mission in life -- to help save the lives of millions who had been diagnosed with cancer. As associate director of clinical research at Amgen Inc., the world's largest biotechnology firm, Menchaca, 45, of Santa Monica, Calif., had flown to Washington, D.C., on Sept. 10, 2001 to discuss with the Federal Drug Administration the approval of a new prostate cancer drug that her team had developed. When the meetings ended early, Menchaca took the next available flight home. The return trip was on American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11. John Menchaca, 41, of San Gabriel, Calif., said the most striking thing about his sister was her devotion to her family. "The most unique thing about Dora was how much she loved her family," Menchaca said. "(Her daughter) Imani was just about the apple of my sister's eye, and she had an unending love for her son, Jaryd." Earl Dorsey, 49, Menchaca's husband of 18 years, also remembers his wife's penchant for gardening. "She was really enthusiastic about her garden," he said. "In fact, she took the early flight because she would have gotten the chance to spend more time working on her garden." Menchaca and Dorsey, whom she met when both were graduate students at the University of California at Los Angeles, had two children -- Jaryd, 5, and Imani, 19, a freshman Division I soccer player at the University of Portland. John Menchaca said his sister would play in neighborhood pick-up soccer games but said that those she played with were more than just teammates to her. "Dora found out a player's wife was ill, so she wrote them a letter in Spanish and sent them gifts of coupons to supermarkets and fast food restaurants," Menchaca said. "Dora intended the gift to help them financially as well as help the husband spend more time with his wife." Colleagues at Amgen said they remember Dora as a kind, maternal figure as well as a hard worker. Menchaca often went beyond the call of duty and always had a strong determination to conquer any obstacle, Menchaca's colleague and close friend MaryAnn Foote recalled. "She was just always here, even until 3 a.m. sometimes," Foote said. "She never gave up on anything. The only thing she gave up was going gray -- she let it happen, and let me tell you, she never looked more beautiful." And while Menchaca's work was often stressful, Foote says she always tried to have fun as well. "When we were on business trips, amidst horrendously stressful times, Dora would instigate trips to malls or to go dancing," Foote said. Two services were held in Menchaca's memory after the attacks. Goodkin said a gathering of nearly 5,000 Amgen workers outside the Thousand Oaks, Calif., headquarters took place the Friday after the attacks. Foote said she, with other colleagues, also planned a memorial service for her friend that took place at the Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks. Foote estimates that 2,000 people attended the service. "I looked up and noticed how there wasn't an empty seat in the plaza, and that was amazing to me," Foote said. John Menchaca said he will always remember his sister's warmth and caring nature. "There was something special about everything she did." Christopher Quackenbush -- Class of 1979 "If blood will flow when flesh and steel are one/Drying in the color of the evening sun/Tomorrow's rain will wash the stains away/But something in our minds will always stay." -- "Fragile," Sting, as played at Christopher Quackenbush's memorial service Hundreds crowded the basement of the Congregational Church of Manhasset, N.Y., on Sept. 22 to watch Christopher Quackenbush's memorial service on closed-circuit television. The funeral for Quackenbush, a 1979 UNC graduate who was killed Sept. 11, was standing room only. When the sanctuary filled because of the large crowd, guests overflowed into the basement, as well as outside, where speakers broadcasted the service to people in the parking lot. And nobody seemed surprised by the turnout. Quackenbush touched many lives, from his three children to the 600 underprivileged kids he would treat to a Mets game each year. Friends and relatives said people thought he was an angel even before he left earth. "He was one of those can-do guys," said his brother Michael. "If he wanted to do it, he did it." Quackenbush was 44 years old when he was killed in the attack on the World Trade Center. He was working on the 104th floor for Sandler O'Neill, an investment banking firm that he helped found. Although he grew up in Long Island, Quackenbush had strong ties to UNC. His grandfather was the chairman of the history department, and his parents met while attending college at UNC. Three out of four of Quackenbush's brothers and sisters also attended UNC. Quackenbush graduated in 1979 with a bachelor's in political science before going on to law school at New York University. Quackenbush contributed to UNC in many ways. In 1996 he established the Albert Ray Newsome Distinguished Professorship for the Study of the South, a $500,000 endowment. He made significant contributions to Finley Golf Course, Kenan Stadium, Navy Field and the softball field and also funded a women's lacrosse scholarship. Quackenbush also gave generously to the restoration of Memorial Hall and was given the right to name the building's newly renovated lobby; his family will now be in charge of choosing a name. Quackenbush's niece Jennifer Majtan, a junior at UNC, said she quickly thought of her uncle when she heard that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. She said she is still having trouble coming to terms with his death. "I find those times when I'm sitting in class thinking, 'This can't be real,'" she said. The Friday after the attacks, Majtan and Michael Quackenbush drove to New York to be with their family. On their visit to ground zero, Majtan filled small blue vases with debris and ashes from the site. "We can't go to a graveyard or a place where he is buried," she said. "We don't have anything tangible." But Quackenbush had a tangible impact on many lives before his own was ended. He established the Jacob Marley Foundation to help underprivileged children in the New York area, taking hundreds to see the Mets play each year. Quackenbush also founded an organization called Adventures in Learning, an after-school program for children. He was involved in Mercy Haven, a nonprofit organization that provides housing for outpatients, the elderly and the mentally ill. Through his many charitable acts, Christopher Quackenbush touched innumerable lives. Lives that experienced a great loss, but were better because of him. In the words of his niece, "I don't think there is or ever will be anyone like him." These stories were reported and written by Nikki Werking, Paige Ammons, Addie Sluder, Jordan Bartel, Rachel Clarke and Joelle Ruben.

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