Big D, the Daily Biker
Every weekday at 6:05 p.m., the Delapenha children would stand outside their home in Allendale, N.J., and wait for their father, Donald A. Delapenha, to come back from work. "As soon as they heard the train whistle, they would know, five more minutes," said Mr. Delapenha's wife, Lorraine.
They'd line up with their bikes, waiting for him to take them on their daily ride around the neighborhood. Samantha, 8, and even Robert, 6, rode two-wheelers, and Madison, 2, would sit in a child seat on the back of her father's bike, and off they'd go.
For Mr. Delapenha, getting home from his job as a senior vice president at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods in the World Trade Center was often the best part of the day. At work, he was known as Crusher, either because he was an offensive lineman in college or for his 300-yard golf drive; no one knows for sure.
Mr. Delapenha, 37, was a large, stocky guy, who wore shorts "11 months out of the year," his wife said. "He didn't care if it was December, he'd be outside shoveling snow in shorts and a sweatshirt."
His bulk earned him another nickname: Big D. For Christmas, his lifelong friend Gary George gave Mr. Delapenha's children the gift of a star named after their father. "That's what we called it: the Big D," Mr. George said.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on June 16, 2002.