His hands. He could pretty much do anything with his hands. Build anything. Fix anything. Cook anything.
Stephen F. Masi had gifted hands and the imagination to put them to innumerable good uses. "I don't know where he got it from," his wife, Joan, said. "He could just figure out how to do anything with his hands."
He did everything around the house. She, in turn, watched and learned from him, and they became a team. She would install a light fixture and put up wallpaper right alongside him.
Mr. Masi, 55, a senior service technician at Cantor Fitzgerald, lived in Selden, on Long Island, with his wife and their son, Stephen, 18. Among other things, he and his wife were both very much into cooking. He liked to watch cooking shows, and they found it fun to go out to dinner and, when they enjoyed a dish, to go home and try to figure out how to prepare it. And they invented their own recipes, dozens of them: lots of soup, a tasty chicken-and-tomatoes dish and plenty of desserts.
There were some missteps, dishes they concocted that after one tasting they swore they would never make again, but the good ones far overwhelmed the errant ones.
"He loved to entertain," Mrs. Masi said. "He always made sure there was tons and tons of food." Of course. He was using his hands.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on April 21, 2002.