His Necklace Was His Life
Adam Ruhalter wore symbols of the things he cared about on a chain around his neck.
There was a small mezuza case for his Jewish heritage. A miniature drumstick for his love of music. An F for Fern, his wife. Pictures of his children, Danica and Ethan. And an eagle for strength.
The necklace was not long enough to hold pictures of all of the children in Plainview, N.Y., but they belonged on it. Their parents remember Mr. Ruhalter from Saturday morning soccer matches, running from one sideline to the other to cheer on both teams.
Even if they were losing, Mr. Ruhalter would yell, "You're doing a great job! You guys are outstanding! What a great game!" said Arnie Price, a friend.
Mr. Ruhalter, 41, had given up dreams of playing the drums professionally and made a career in finance at his wife's request, as a controller at Cantor Fitzgerald. But he found ways to be a wild man, at parties and on the sporting fields.
"He died with very valuable things, valuable things in terms of his life," his wife said. "He had his children around his neck."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 20, 2001.