Bill Wren fought fires for 25 years, raised two sons and when they began thinking about careers, said: "You want something that you love, that you're waking up in the morning and looking forward to."
That is how Mr. Wren felt about being a firefighter in Coney Island. His family shared good times - friendships with firefighting families, barbecues where the men cooked. But they never heard about the danger and exhaustion. After retiring, he became the the World Trade Center's fire safety director. When visiting firefighters saw him in a suit, "they'd rag on him for dressing so sharp," said his son Christopher.
Off duty, he went to art museums and watched Sister Wendy's art lectures on TV. He grew vegetables and cooked for himself and Pat, his wife. A trip to Ireland got him interested in his forebears. "He was understated," Christopher said. "But in control - the voice of reason and calm. In a family emergency, we'd look to him. Now we're asking: 'What are we going to do now?' "
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 5, 2001.