He Just Started Climbing
Douglas D. Ketcham climbed the corporate ladder. Literally.
A few years ago, Mr. Ketcham was summoned into the office of a high- ranking supervisor at Cantor Fitzgerald.
He saw a ladder in the middle of the room and started climbing, figuring he had been invited in to change a light bulb. "The boss said, 'Doug, what in the hell are you doing?' " recalled his mother, Raenelle.
Turns out the ladder was there for someone else. He was being given a bonus.
But that was Mr. Ketcham for you: humble. "He was never too high to do anything," said his girlfriend, Evelyn J. Abeles. "He liked the finer things in life, but he was also very down to earth."
Mr. Ketcham was remarkably close to his mother. He would call her, even at 2 a.m., if he had just spotted a celebrity, and even told her about his love life.
She had an uncanny knack for sensing, long distance, when he was feeling down. "He told me stuff," Mrs. Ketcham said from her home near Orlando, Fla. "I'd say, 'Son, remember, I'm your mother. I'm not old enough to know that.' "
In her son's briefcase, Mrs. Ketcham found an envelope on which he had scrawled an itinerary for a visit to New York that she had planned but postponed. "I was going to be taken everywhere," Mrs. Ketcham said. "I was going to be the queen of New York."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 18, 2001.