What people remember about Edward Beyea was that he was always telling jokes. "Sometimes he laughed so hard you thought he would fall out of the chair," said Irma Fuller, his nurse's aide for 14 years. Mr. Beyea, 42, needed full- time care for the last 21 years, ever since a diving accident left him a quadriplegic.
But Mr. Beyea refused to be overcome by his disability, his mother said. "He said right from the start, 'I'll beat it, Mom,' " said his mother, Janet Beyea. "And he did, up to a point."
He learned how to type using a stick that he operated with his mouth, and worked as a computer programmer for Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield in the World Trade Center.
Even at home in his apartment on Roosevelt Island, Mr. Beyea was always busy. "It kept his mind off himself," Ms. Fuller said. He would play computer golf, listen to music and read. He had a special tray that made it possible for him to read in bed.
The tray was rigged up by Abe Zelmanowitz, his colleague and friend for 12 years. Mr. Zelmanowitz refused to leave Mr. Beyea's side after the terror attack, as they waited on the 27th floor for the rescue workers who could not get there in time.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 5, 2001.