All Things American
Gavin Cushny, the son of an Episcopal priest from England, considered America paradise. Randy Yates, from California, was interested in everything British. Naturally, when the two young men met, as students at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland 25 years ago, they became close friends.
Mr. Cushny complained bitterly about Britain — the dreary weather, the lack of central heating, the ancient plumbing. "He wanted to know a lot about California — what the homes were like, how they were built, why the plumbing didn't vibrate at night," Mr. Yates said.
The two friends talked of moving to California together, but Mr. Cushny instead settled in New York City, where he eventually went to work on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center, as a programmer for eSpeed. "He loved what he considered the emotional honesty of Americans," Mr. Yates said.
His friend had an American's devotion to self-improvement. He studied math at Columbia, with the idea of perhaps getting an engineering degree. He took acting classes as a way of overcoming his stage fright. He had regular sessions with a therapist. One of the things he was working out, Mr. Yates said, was his relationship with his strict and intellectually demanding father, who died last year.
"Gavin was committed to emotional and intellectual growth," said his fiancée, Susann Brady, who was to have married Mr. Cushny, 47, on Oct. 26, and instead buried him. "He encouraged that in other people, too. If we had differences, he was always open to talking about them."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 26, 2001.
Gavin Cushny, 47, a man of convictions
Gavin Cushny of Hoboken considered himself lucky.
The day before the World Trade Center attacks, he called his fiancee to tell her that 24 employees in his department at Cantor Fitzgerald had been laid off, but that he wasn't one of them.
The next day, Mr. Cushny, 47, was killed when terrorists crashed a plane into Tower One of the Trade Center, where he worked on the 104th floor as a computer software engineer.
His fiancee, Susann Brady, saw him for the last time that Sunday.
"He took me to his office," she said. "We filled out our marriage license."
The couple were planning an Oct. 26 wedding in Scotland, where Mr. Cushny's mother lives, and maybe a honeymoon in Greece.
"Instead of planning a wedding, I'm planning a funeral," said Brady, who lives in Montclair.
She met Mr. Cushny, a native of Nottingham, England, on New Year's Eve 1998. Brady, a family nurse practitioner, was working at the employee health department at Merrill Lynch, where Mr. Cushny was working at the time.
"He saw me and decided he needed his blood pressure checked," she said. "He asked me out and I was like, 'I have plans tonight. It's New Year's Eve.'"
But the two walked to the train station and then stopped at a clam bar before Brady caught her train. "We had beer and steamers. He told me later he'd never had steamers before, that and he was pretending to like them."
When Brady returned home, Mr. Cushny had already left a message on her answering machine.
"Some beautiful message about how it was the beginning of a new year and he hoped I'd be a part of it," she said.
Mr. Cushny, who immigrated to the United States when he was 21 and later became a citizen, landed his job at Cantor Fitzgerald in May 2000. He was a Latin buff who loved mathematics, his fiancee said.
"And he was crazy about me," she said, laughing.
And Brady said she was crazy about him because he was not only smart and well-spoken, but kind.
"He was very tolerant and accepting. And he had very strong convictions," she said. "He looked, literally, into everyone's heart . . . He was the most moral, ethical, spiritual person I've ever met."
In addition to his fiancee, Mr. Cushny -- who changed his surname from Eales-White -- is survived by his mother, Cibyl Eales-White of Scotland; two brothers, Rupert Eales-White and Adrian White; and a sister, Myra Osbourne, all of the United Kingdom.
His father, the Rev. D.J. Eales-White, died in March.
Memorial services will be held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at St. James' Episcopal Church, Valley Road, Upper Montclair.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the N.Y. Firefighters 911 Disaster Relief Fund, c/o International Association of Firefighters, P.O. Box 65858, Washington, D.C. 20035, or the New York State Fraternal Order of Police Foundation, WTC Police Disaster Fund, 911 Police Plaza, Hicksville N.Y. 11801.
Profile by Carrie Stetler published in THE STAR-LEDGER.