Francis J. Nazario

Francis J.  Nazario
World Trade Center

Doting New Father

Francis Nazario loved jet skis, Mustangs, visiting Disney, redoing the house that his mother had grown up in, his wife and his 8- month-old daughter, Lena. Not in that order. He would put new pictures of Lena on his computer's screen saver almost every day. He couldn't wait for her to do something new, his sister, Mary Beth Deleto, recalls.

He also enjoyed his job as a back office operations manager at Cantor Fitzgerald, said his wife, Julie. "I'd call up and he'd be laughing," she said. "They'd be telling jokes, and I wondered if they ever got any work done."

The two were high school sweethearts. "We knew, from when we first started dating, on Sept. 5, 1989, that we were going to spend the rest of our lives together," Mrs. Nazario said.

The man who was just learning how to be a good father was devoted to his own, taking care of him for six years after his mother died. They lived together in the family home in Jersey City, and the younger Mr. Nazario, 28, shopped for his father and later visited him regularly in a nursing home.

"He was the apple of my father's eye," his sister said.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on February 17, 2002.

Francis Nazario, 28, a blissful life with his soul mate

They were only teenagers when they met in the summer of 1989. She was 14. He was 16. A chance introduction by mutual friends led to instant attraction.

That summer, they whiled away the days at the local park, playing basketball or just talking. At night, they talked on the phone until the early hours of the morning. In the fall, she transferred to his school so they could be together.

Everyone said it was puppy love but Julieanne Citro knew that when she met Francis J. Nazario, she had found the person with whom she would spend the rest of her life.

"We were soul mates from the moment we met each other," Julieanne Nazario said. "We grew up together. He was my best friend."

Francis and Julieanne married in April 1998 and eight months ago welcomed their daughter, Lena, to their family. They planned to have four children and someday move out of Jersey City to a quieter life in south New Jersey.

Their dreams were cut short on Sept. 11. Mr. Nazario was one of hundreds of Cantor Fitzgerald employees killed in the terrorists' attack on the World Trade Center. He had worked for the firm for nine years. He was 28.

Though married only three years, the Nazarios celebrated their 12th anniversary of being together on Sept. 5, the day he asked her to be his girlfriend. It had been a remarkably blissful relationship.

"We never had a major fight," his wife said. "People thought that was not true, but it's true. We didn't have to talk sometimes to know what each other was thinking. We were just soul mates."

A jet ski enthusiast and die- hard New Jersey Devils fan who never missed an opening game, Mr. Nazario is lovingly remembered as a devoted family man.

"He was the best uncle you could ever want," said Christina Deleto, his 10-year-old niece. "He would come to watch my (softball and basketball) games. It made me feel happy."

Christina's 18-year-old brother, Dominick, Jr., a student at Middlesex County College, said his uncle had encouraged him to attend college. "He was like an older brother," he said.

Born and raised in Jersey City, Mr. Nazario attended St. Paul the Apostle School and graduated from Marist High School in Bayonne in 1991.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Nazario is survived by his father, John Nazario; a sister, Marybeth Deleto of Fairville; two nephews and a niece.

Profile by Ivelisse DeJesus published in THE STAR-LEDGER.

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