Debra "Debbie" Paris

Debra Debbie Paris
World Trade Center

General Factotum

Debbie Paris, an executive assistant, scheduled her bosses' flights, kept their calendars and managed payments, construction, staff and insurance on their three yachts and several homes — to list some of her duties. "When I needed an autographed photo of Sting," said Suzanne Murphy, a colleague, "I called Debbie. 'No problem,' she said."

When Herman Sandler, president of Sandler O'Neill, bought his yacht, he turned everything over to Mrs. Paris, saying, "Let me know when the money runs out." She did the rest, from hiring a captain to paying the marina. No Problem was his name for the boat — fitting, no doubt, from his point of view, but only because of Mrs. Paris. Mr. Sandler, too, died on Sept. 11.

At home, she managed the gigs for Jimmy, her husband, a rock musician, and was helping him with an album. "She was his muse and inspiration," Ms. Murphy said. Mr. Paris put it more strongly: "She was like my wife, my child, my mother, my best friend," he said. "And I was a husband and father and child and brother to her." Even now he will not reveal her age. "Just say," he said, "she looked 15 years younger than she was."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 2, 2001.

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