Donna Marie Giordano

Donna Marie Giordano
World Trade Center

Family Friends

Donna Marie Giordano liked to go to Bon Jovi concerts with her son, Michael. "Bon Jovi was her second love," he said. But the Giordanos' common interests went beyond music. "We would drive to the mountains and go hiking. Or go out to dinner," Mr. Giordano said. "We did everything together. We were more like brother and sister."

Ms. Giordano, 44 and divorced, liked having her family nearby. An insurance syndicator for the Aon Corporation in 2 World Trade Center, she had gotten jobs for her son and her sister, Elaine Barrett, at the company. Though they were in the building on Sept. 11, Mrs. Barrett and Mr. Giordano escaped.

Generous and warm, Ms. Giordano could also be single-minded. "She made everything she became interested in a priority," her son said.

One priority was raising money for charity. On Sept. 7, Ms. Giordano helped organize an event to benefit Urban Pathways, a program for the homeless, at a bar near her office. As usually happened when Ms. Giordano got involved, she had persuaded executives at Aon to show up. That night, they raised $2,500.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 16, 2001.

Donna Giordano, 44, work and music fan

Donna Giordano, a big fan of popular music, especially enjoyed the work of Jon Bon Jovi.

So when the New Jersey rocker played Giants Stadium this past summer, Ms. Giordano leapt at a chance to go.

"She liked his music before, but after the concert even more," said her sister, Elaine Barrett of Rahway. "That's all she talked about for several weeks."

Barrett told the story as she recalled the life of Ms. Giordano, who died in the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center. Ms. Giordano, 44, lived in the Parlin section of Sayreville.

An insurance broker with Aon Corp. for nearly three years, she worked on the 100th floor of the South Tower. After the first airliner struck, she ran down a stairway to the 78th floor, where she got into an elevator, a company official told Barrett. She said Ms. Giordano was trapped in the elevator when the second plane struck.

"She loved her work," said Barrett, who is employed by the same firm. "She would constantly work overtime, came in early. She loved her clients, and made sure they were taken care of."

Although she was not scheduled to arrive at work until 9 a.m., Sept. 11 was the day of the New York primary. Ms. Giordano went in early to avoid the morning commuter rush, her sister said.

Ms. Giordano's son, Michael, 19, of Parlin and her sister also work at Aon and were on the 92nd floor. Michael Giordano took an elevator and Barrett rushed down the stairs to safety before the building collapsed, Barrett said.

Born in Kearny, Ms. Giordano was raised in Bloomfield and graduated from Bloomfield High School in 1975. She learned the insurance business through hands-on experience.

She lived in Parlin for the past four years, after moving from the Fords section of Woodbridge.

In addition to her son and her sister, Ms. Giordano is survived by her parents, Domenick and Jessie D'Ambola of Toms River.

A memorial service will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. next Sunday at LaMonica Memorial Home, 299 Bloomfield Ave. There will be a prayer service at the memorial home at 4:30 p.m.

A celebration of her life will continue at the Vesuvius Restaurant, 501 Bloomfield Ave., Newark, from 6 to 8 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to a trust fund for Michael Giordano by contacting J.P. Morgan Chase, Attention: Patricia Vicente, 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10005.

Profile by George Berkin published in THE STAR-LEDGER.

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