A Self-Taught Man
"Make this a sweet story," Ira Lassman said the other day, "about one little kernel of a human being whose life will be sorely missed."
He was talking about his son Nicholas, who worked for the eSpeed unit of Cantor Fitzgerald, and was 28 years old. Nicholas's life had been like a sailboat, catching the right breeze here and there, and always being led to a happy situation. He had been a golf pro at clubs in Florida and New York before teaching himself computer programming. That turned into a temporary job at Morgan Stanley, and then a full-time role at eSpeed. In between, he learned Russian and German, and the guitar, all on his own. He lived in an apartment in Cliffside Park, N.J., and loved his job, where his boss, Abul Chowdhury, was also his best friend.
"He was bright beyond his years," his father said. "He had a charming smile and a quick wit. People flocked to him." At a memorial held for him last month, the 400 mourners included a row of caddies from the Alpine Country Club, where his parents were members and where he had once worked as a caddy. "He never hung out with the members," Mr. Lassman remembered. "He always hung out with the caddies."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 20, 2001.