Class Clown and Big Tease
Curtis Noel loved to tease his mother. Once Theresa Noel dropped some chicken on the floor, and her son shouted, "Nasty, nasty!" Then he said that was where he got his clumsy genes. That sense of humor got him voted class clown at James Monroe High School in the Bronx. He also loved his job as a switch engineer at General Telecom in the World Trade Center.
The company had sent him to training courses, and was always calling him in on weekends when something went wrong.
Mr. Noel, 22, could never bulk up. He would go to the gym, or eat a lot, but he was always skinny. So he would tell his husky friend Garvin Richardson, "You're my bodyguard." He had got Mr. Richardson a job at another office of General Telecom, but they rode most of the way from the Bronx to work together.
The last time he told Mr. Richardson about bodyguard duty was the morning of Sept. 11, when they arranged to go to the bank at lunchtime. They shook hands when Mr. Richardson got off at the Brooklyn Bridge stop on the No. 4 train.
Mr. Noel and his girlfriend, Aisha Harris, were thinking of getting married. She worked at General Telecom, and she died that day, too.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 21, 2001.