'She Was Not Shy'
Colleen Deloughery's tiny backyard in Bayonne, N.J., was the center of the galaxy. A pool took up most of it, leaving barely enough space for a table and chairs. But no matter how many friends and relatives showed up on weekends — dozens, scores, nobody kept count — they squeezed in somehow: kids splashing, adults yakking, beer flowing, luscious barbeque aromas swirling.
"There was always room for people," Patricia Marrese said of her sister's universe. "I called it the magic yard."
Open, spontaneous, generous, Mrs. Deloughery, 41, laughed a lot, and said "I love you" too much. Perhaps that's why everyone needed her so terribly — not just her husband, Jay, and her "shadows," Amanda, 8, and Michael, 5, or her sister and five brothers, but the menagerie of nieces, nephews and cousins, and the circus of friends and co-workers at Aon (99th floor, 2 World Trade Center).
Strangers too. Jeanette Krupinski, a friend, recalled how Ms. Deloughery had stopped one day to talk to a homeless teenage mother living with her baby on the margins of a commuter station. "After that, she started bringing things to the woman — a stroller, a carrier, clothes, food, milk," Ms. Krupinski said. "She was not shy. She did wonderful things."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 4, 2001.
Colleen Deloughery, 41, loved N.Y.'s action
Colleen Deloughery loved working at the World Trade Center.
"It was the excitement, the energy," recalled her husband, Jay. "She kept a pair of binoculars at her desk so she could see the ships come in."
The 41-year-old mother of two, who worked on the 99th floor of Two World Trade Center for Aon Corp. as a re-insurance specialist, could see the East River from her high office perch, and her hometown of Bayonne from atop the tower.
It was the only place she wanted to work.
On maternity leave with her first child at the time of the 1993 bombing at the Trade Center, she never expressed any concerns about going back to work there. In fact, she turned down an offer to transfer to a New Jersey office so she could stay in New York, its spectacular view and the easy commute to Bayonne.
"She wanted the New York action," her husband said.
On Sept. 11, after the first plane struck One World Trade Center, she called her husband's office to tell him she was all right, and let him know they were evacuating by elevator. The call was then cut off.
Born in Jersey City, she lived most of her life in Bayonne where she and her future husband first met as a teenagers. The two wed in 1990.
Mrs. Deloughery was described by her younger sister, Patricia Marrese of Verona, as a "spur-of-the-moment" person.
"When she entered a room, you knew she was there," she said.
As kids, her sister remembered the stray animals she would bring home; once pulling all her clothes out of her drawers for a pregnant cat she had taken in.
"She was very comfortable saying to people, 'I love you.' " she said. "I would tease her over it, but you knew that she meant it."
While the World Trade Center was the focus of her career, Marrese said her children -- Amanda Lynn, 8, and Michael Dylan, 5 -- and family were the focus of her life.
"She could look away from a mess. The time she spent with her kids was special to her," she said.
The backyard of her home was small, but was always filled with family and friends, she added.
"She wanted a pool and it filled the yard, but there was always room for people," she said. "I called it the magic yard that kept growing. You never worried about knocking on her door."
Mrs. Deloughery also is survived by her brothers, Joseph McNulty, Kevin McNulty, James McNulty and Kenneth McNulty, all of Bayonne, and Michael McNulty of Wayne.
A memorial gathering will be held from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. tomorrow at the G. Keenen O'Brien Funeral Home, 984 Avenue C, Bayonne.
A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church, Bayonne.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the Deloughery Children Trust Fund, P.O. Box 4232, Bayonne, N.J. 07002-8232.
Profile by Ted Sherman published in THE STAR-LEDGER.