A Born Organizer
Rameses Bautista said the cleaning crew at Marsh & McLennan loved his wife, Marlyn. She was the kind of worker who kept her cubicle and everything around it so neat "that they didn't have anything to do," he said.
Mrs. Bautista, 46, was a born organizer. She worked in the accounts payable department and liked to get there early "just to get things started" and stay late "to make sure everything was finished all right," her husband said. "That was her style, always making sure everything was in its place."
When she was a girl, Mrs. Bautista helped sponsor a town festival in Dagupan, in her native Philippines. Mr. Bautista was visiting from another part of the country, saw her, and they became childhood sweethearts, he said. Ten years ago, she became his wife. They moved to Iselin, N.J., and just last year, she received her naturalization papers. When she was not working, Mrs. Bautista enjoyed nature walks. "She was always amazed by what God could do," Mr. Bautista said. "She's with him now."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on September 30, 2001.
Mornings were important to Marlyn Bautista. They were filled with family and friends, prayer and work.
Each day, she woke by 6 a.m. and, after a hug and a peck for her husband, would commute from her New Jersey home to New York. She often stopped at a downtown church on her way to work in the World Trade Center.
"She prayed every day," said her husband, Rameses Bautista. "She would still be to work early. She wanted to get to the office to get everything set up ... she was always like that, very organized."
But on Sept. 11, Bautista went straight to her job in the accounts payable department of insurance broker Marsh & McLennan.
Her sister, who also worked in the building, arrived downtown later to find smoke pouring out of the trade center, and rushed to their usual church hoping to find Bautista there, already praying.
But she wasn't there, said Bautista's husband. "Her sister ran back to the [trade center] to get my wife, but it was burning. She couldn't get in."
The Bautistas had been married more than 10 years. They were childhood sweethearts who moved to the United States from the Philippines, and over the years were joined in New Jersey by many other family members.
Marlyn Bautista, 46, was a woman full of joy. "She always laughed. She always was very happy," said her father-in-law, Adan Bautista, who, with his wife, was visiting from the Philippines when the trade center was attacked. They plan to stay in New York at least for a while to be with their son. "We don't want him to be alone in the house."
For Rameses Bautista, it has been a comfort to have family and friends nearby. Even friends he never knew he had.
Days after the attacks, fellow passengers from Marlyn Bautista's Metro Park Loop bus came looking for her. They had been riding the bus with her for nearly five years and didn't know exactly where she lived, said Rameses, "so they went house to house trying to find her."
He said it was a comfort to have them at her memorial service.
"I've been trying to tell myself I'm tough," said Rameses. "But sometimes when I'm alone, it hits me."
He tries to think about the good times, the vacations they took together. "She loved nature and was awed by the Grand Canyon, by the immense space. She couldn't believe that God had given that gift."
Profile courtesy of THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE.