Karol Ann Keasler

World Trade Center

Ever the Social Butterfly

She was reared in a two- stoplight town in Arizona, but Karol Ann Keasler was hardly a small-town girl. "One of my friends said, 'I always knew Karol would not live the life of the girl next door, fall in love with her high school sweetheart, live in that little world,' " her mother, Denise Keasler, recalled.

"And she didn't."

Ms. Keasler traveled the world. She lived in Africa for two years and visited countries from Cambodia to Sweden to Bosnia. On Sept. 9, she had just returned from a trip to Tuscany with her fiancé, Michael Weinstein. The couple planned to live in Mr. Weinstein's native city, St. Petersburg, Russia.

At 42, Ms. Keasler was a bride-to-be; a Fire Island regular; a reader to her elderly next-door neighbor in Brooklyn Heights; a volunteer at a soup kitchen on the Upper East Side. Ever the social butterfly, Ms. Keasler was perfect for her job as an event planner at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods on the 89th floor of 2 World Trade Center. "Karol had probably the biggest zest for life that I've ever seen," said her friend Elizabeth Coss. "Sometimes I wonder almost if she didn't know inherently that her life was going to be short. She just really packed so much in."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 24, 2001.

The same quality that made Karol Keasler a great daughter may have also led to her death Tuesday on the 89th floor of the World Trade Center.

"She was always a good girl. She always did what her mother told her," Keasler's mother, Denise, said.

A small-town girl from Arizona who had grown to love New York City over the last 21 years, Karol Keasler, 43, was engaged to be married and worked as an event planner for the financial firm Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.

Denise Keasler last talked to her daughter just after hearing the news about the first plane hitting the north tower.

"She answered and said `Mom, I was just about to call you. I'm OK,' and then her line went dead," Denise Keasler said.

Keasler's company told her mother that 103 of its 170 employees in the tower got out of the building but only because they left after the first plane hit.

"Other employees tell me they came on the loudspeaker and said `Stay in your office. It's safer.' Being a good girl who always took instruction, she stayed in her office," Denise Keasler said.

"They say the place was filling up with smoke and some employees called their families to say goodbye. I understand smoke inhalation is a quick death and for that I'm grateful," her mother said.

Still, Denise Keasler hopes her daughter's body is found in the rubble. "I just hope her engagement ring is still on her finger," she said.

Profile courtesy of THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE.

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