An Array of Friends
Judy and Floyd Weil knew that their daughter Joanne had accumulated a wide range of friends over her 39 years, from her tennis-playing childhood in Armonk, N.Y., to her days as a French major (and emergency medical technician) at Brown University, to her days (and nights) as a securities lawyer for Harris Beach in the World Trade Center.
But only after Joanne died did her parents learn the depth of those friendships.
In letters, phone calls and personal visits, the Weils have heard from the friends, who said that they would have gladly traded their lives for hers. They have learned that Ms. Weil's friends also miss her full-bodied, make-you-smile laugh. They have even learned that their only child once turned down a sensitive government job that would have required her to limit her contact with her parents. "What she cared about, and who she cared about, were what was important to her," Mrs. Weil said. "She was not a dabbler."
Perhaps one letter, Mrs. Weil added, summed up her daughter best. It came from a longtime friend of Ms. Weil's who now lives in California. "I've been told that the measure of a person's life is not the distance they traveled but the heights they reached," the friend wrote. "Joanne soared, and I am both blessed and grateful to have shared even a part of her life, and to have her consider me a friend."
Profile published in the NEW YORK TIMES on December 28, 2001.