Hector Tamayo loved to sing: Engelbert Humperdinck and Elton John, country music and campfire favorites, especially the one that begins, "Today, while the blossom still clings to the vine . . ."
At home in Holliswood, Queens, he had a karaoke machine with thousands of songs. "He had a lot of friends, most of them are relatives, and on Friday nights and Saturday nights and sometimes weeknights they would drink together and sing together," said his sister-in-law, Sylvia Mercene.
Many of those relatives lived with Mr. Tamayo at some point, because he opened his house to family and friends when they came to the United States from Aklan province in the Philippines, as he had in 1980. "As a joke we call his house the Ellis Island," Ms. Mercene said. Five of his six siblings are now in the United States, as are his wife, Evelyn, and their two children, Ian, 20, and Pamela, 16.
A civil engineer, Mr. Tamayo, 51, was working in 2 World Trade Center on Sept. 11.
His family remembers him as a happy person who loved jokes, his family and, of course, to sing: "A million tomorrows will all pass away/Ere I forget all the joys that were mine today."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 24, 2001.