The Captain of the Ship
Christopher S. Gardner had a lifelong passion for the sea and was a born skipper. "He was always the captain of the ship," his brother Jonathan said, "whether that was at work, around the house, or on the boat. He had an incredible amount of energy."
Mr. Gardner, 36, rose at dawn each day and drove to the World Trade Center, where he was an executive at Aon, with a large staff reporting to him on the company's global risk services. He was a combination of boss and friend — a captain beloved by his crew, even when he had to lay someone off, which he found agonizing.
When he got home, he and his wife, Susan, put their children, Christopher Trowbridge, almost 4, and Alexander, 2 1/2, to bed, which he found delightful. "He never brought work home," Mrs. Gardner said. "He never played golf a single weekend in his life. We really tried to maximize our time with the children."
This past summer the family spent a lot of time in Maine, where Mr. Gardner took the boys sailing and began their seafaring education. They were too young to absorb much information, but they loved steering the ship with their dad. "First Christopher drove the boat," Jonathan Gardner. "Then Alexander got so excited, he just had to drive it. And meanwhile the boat is going all over the place, all over this crowded harbor."
But the captain was happy and in control.
"He was never worried," Mr. Gardner said.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 23, 2001.