What Penny Knows
Penny knows he's gone; the chocolate Labrador shows she senses this. Her master, Mark F. Hemschoot, 45, is not there to walk her in the morning. Penny can't greet him at the door each night. And he'll never again feed her slices of bologna or ham while he makes his next day's lunch.
"The first two weeks she didn't eat," said Mr. Hemschoot's wife, Debora. "She moped in the house. The veterinarian was concerned. The dog actually lost 10 pounds."
They had always had dogs, since they got married in 1979. They had Chad, a collie, and Kelsey, a black Labrador, who died eight years ago. That's when they took a drive to a farm and picked out Penny. The couple's sons, Jeffrey, 19, and David, 16, thought of the pets as family.
These days, Penny has begun to eat again. She has accepted the way things are now and she is getting back to normal. Humans have their own way. "I sit down and look over at the recliner chair and he's vanished," Debora said of her husband, a senior vice president at Aon Corporation on the 105th floor of 2 World Trade Center. "It's hard. I know he is gone but he has literally vanished. But Penny is at my side and my sons are here."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 29, 2001.
Mark Hemschoot , 45, devoted to family
Mark Hemschoot had two loves, his work and his family.
He paid attention to both. There were days when he traveled the world pulling together insurance deals for his company, Aon Corp. On other days he was in school gymnasiums rooting for his sons and their basketball teams.
On Sept. 11, Mr. Hemschoot, 45, of Red Bank, was on the South Tower's 105th floor.
His wife, Debbie Hemschoot, said she called his office in the minutes after the attack on the World Trade Center. She got his voice mail, which suggested her husband of 22 years was evacuating the building.
She surmised something must have pulled him back to his office, probably an announcement that there was no problem or to retrieve his briefcase, which held his life-sustaining insulin. He didn't come home that Tuesday night.
Mr. Hemschoot was a senior vice president with Aon who had lived with diabetes for the past 30 years. He never let his illness stand in his way, his wife said. He was dedicated to his work and regularly put in 12-hour days.
He was also looking forward to watching Jeffrey, his 19-year-old, play basketball for Fairleigh Dickinson University this season. He had coached both his sons since childhood.
"I feel so bad he won't be able to see this," Debbie Hemschoot said. "These things he should be seeing. It tears my heart out that these people did this. These people with such evil and hate destroyed so many lives. All he did was go to work."
The 1974 graduate of Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft, Mr. Hemschoot was a state champion hurdler during his high school years.
Always a high achiever, Mr. Hemschoot graduated magna cum laude with double majors from LaSalle University in 1978. He studied business management, personnel and labor relations.
Besides coaching, Mr. Hemschoot was a volunteer firefighter for Liberty Hose in Red Bank and a member of St. James Church.
In addition to his wife and son Jeffrey, Mr. Hemschoot is survived by son, David; his mother, Muriel Rembert Hemschoot of Red Bank; a sister, Carol Bossio of Red Bank; and brothers Brett of Shrewsbury and David of Lincroft.
A Mass for Mr. Hemschoot will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at St. James Church in Red Bank. In lieu of flowers, donations in Mr. Hemschoot's name can be sent to Red Bank Catholic High School, 112 Broad St., Red Bank, N.J. 07701.
Profile by Judith Lucas published in THE STAR-LEDGER.