They were as close as three brothers could be, born in 1966, 1967 and 1970. Now there is just one. "Until Sept. 11, I have never known a day without my brothers," Todd D. Coleman, the oldest, said of Keith and Scott. "I miss them terribly."
As boys, they wrestled in their Westport, Conn., home, had bunk beds and stole pizza off one another's plates. They went to college, to careers in finance and to satisfying romances. They dreamed of raising their children in one big family with three smart, affable uncles at the top, said their mother, Jean N. Coleman.
When Keith's equities division at Cantor Fitzgerald became wildly successful, he drafted Scott to work for him. It was there, in the 104th floor offices at 1 World Trade Center, that Todd, 35, Keith, 34, and Scott, 31, were together for a last time this July.
At a memorial service on Oct. 20, Todd told Keith's wife, Elodie, and Scott's fiancée, Jessica Nardone, that he understood why men of grace and dignity loved them so. "I will try to live my life in a manner that will be worthy of their respect and admiration," he said. "Their memory reminds me that the world can be a wonderful place."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 27, 2001.
Keith Coleman, 34, local kids' playmate
Six years ago, Keith Coleman and his wife, Elodie, sat down in their home in the Kensington section of London and etched out their life's goals.
Among other things, Mr. Coleman wanted to move back to the United States and start a family with Elodie, his college sweetheart, whom he met in an economics class during their junior year at Bucknell University.
Mr. Coleman was well on his way to achieving many of those dreams. Two years ago, his wife gave birth to their first son, Vaughn McGuire, named after baseball slugger Mark McGwire. He cried as he cradled the newborn boy because he was so thrilled and proud to be a father. His daughter, Neva Rae, was born five months ago.
And last year, the Connecticut native was transferred to Cantor Fitzgerald's offices in the World Trade Center, where he was promoted to the position of senior vice president and partner. He also brought his younger brother, Scott Coleman, 30, into the company.
On Sept. 11, both brothers were in Tower One when a hijacked plane rammed into the building. Mr. Coleman was 34.
"He was loyal and supportive," said Elodie Coleman. "He always put family first. He made every situation better."
Jean Coleman said her sons were very close. "They adored working for one another," she said.
She said her son Keith had become very competitive in life. But he was especially competitive with his two brothers about who could take care of the family best.
"All of them wanted to be the one who took better care of the other one," she said.
The neighborhood kids in Warren Township, Somerset County, where the couple moved in March 2000, loved to spend time with Mr. Coleman. They frequently would knock on the door and ask, "Can Keith come out and play?" He never said no.
There were times when adults would drop by the house for an appointment, but could not find Mr. Coleman because he was outside tossing a football with the neighborhood kids.
Each night, before he went to bed, he would kiss the silver cross he wore around his neck five times -- once for each member of his family and again for the entire family.
"He was a very hard worker who knew how to enjoy life," said Ann Marie Seyffart, his sister-in-law.
In addition to his wife and two children, Mr. Coleman is survived by his parents, Neil and Jean Coleman of Westport, Conn.; brother Todd Coleman of San Francisco; and nephews James and Paul Seyffart Jr. of South Plainfield.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Keith Coleman Family Memorial Trust, c/o Ann Marie Seyffart, 121 Elizabethtown Court, South Plainfield, N.J. 07080.
Profile by Katie Wang published in THE STAR-LEDGER.