Donald J. DiFranco

Donald  J.  DiFranco
World Trade Center

A Quirky Perfectionist

When Donald J. DiFranco set out to replace the roof on his house, he counted out every nail and every tile he would need before starting.

When he needed new windows for the house, he spent months compiling a list of virtually all the window manufacturers in the world. After he ordered the windows, he stained the wood around each pane, applying coat after coat, before installing them. But the windows did not look quite right, so he removed them, stained them again and put them back in.

Mr. DiFranco, 43, the engineer in charge of maintaining WABC-TV's transmitter on the 110th floor of 1 World Trade Center, approached the tasks of life with a quirky perfectionism. This endeared him to anyone who watched him work and to relatives, who counted on his being able to tackle anything, from broken radios to tax returns. "He just had something you can't learn," said his sister, Lisa Pipitone.

Mr. DiFranco would often work late. But before he left the building ‹ no matter what time it was ‹ he would slip on a pair of work gloves and do a long set of push-ups, said his co-worker, Vinny Ioele. "It was a good sign to see him put on the gloves," Mr. Ioele said. "That meant it was time to go."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 20, 2001.

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