'She Was Really Tough'
Karen Elizabeth Hagerty threw a birthday party recently for her horse, Ricardo. A caterer brought a carrot cake in the shape of a horseshoe. There were 40 nonequine guests, and goody bags for every horse in the barn. "My sister loved her animals more than life," Deborah Anne Hagerty said yesterday. "She called them her kids."
Karen, 34, was a senior vice president for Aon Risk Services in the World Trade Center. She was loud and funny and inclined to take charge. When two of Deborah's friends called Karen to begin planning a bridal shower they were giving for Deborah, they found that Karen had already done it all.
Years ago, Deborah told Karen about a homeless shelter in the Bronx; Deborah was looking for people to buy presents for children who had written to Santa. "Give me the whole shelter," Karen said. Her office would overflow with donated toys.
"She just hounded everyone in her office," Deborah said. "She had to hire a moving truck last year because she had so much stuff. She told everybody, `I want you to buy something and it has to be good.' She was really tough: `Don't give me a scarf. Kids don't like scarves.' "
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on September 19, 2001.