Sheldon R. Kanter

Sheldon R. Kanter
World Trade Center

Borough Switch Hitter

A little boy is born in Brooklyn on a late-July day in 1948, and though there are still plenty of innings left to play at Ebbets Field, and even a World Series to win, in his heart time has run out for the Dodgers. By the time he is old enough to count base hits, the boy, Sheldon R. Kanter, has turned to the Bronx, where Mickey Mantle is playing center field, and attached his affection to Mantle for keeps.

"He was so easy to buy presents for," said Mr. Kanter's wife, Tami. "Just get anything that had a 7 on it." Over the years he accumulated autographed cards, baseballs and — his favorit — a replica of his hero's pinstriped jersey.

Mr. Kanter, who was 53 and a vice president for system support at Cantor Fitzgerald's eSpeed division, stubbornly stood by the Yankees, even when his two sons, Evan and Adam, turned out to be Mets fans. "The subway series was not a happy place in this house," Mrs. Kanter said.

But there were other opportunities for harmony, like Giants and Knicks games. The family bowled together, taking home trophies. And every year for Father's Day, the Kanter sons gave their father tickets to the Yankees old-timers game. They went as a family, the boys gritting their teeth and Shelly Kanter happy as could be in his jersey with the 7 on the back.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 30, 2001.

Sheldon Kanter, 53, loved sports and rock

Every year, Sheldon "Shelly" Kanter's two sons took him to Yankee Stadium for Old Timers' Day. It was a Father's Day tradition and each time, Mr. Kanter, 53, would wear his beloved Mickey Mantle jersey.

"It was our thing," said Adam Kanter, 20, recalling his father's joy on those trips, and the way he cherished playing catch and hitting a tennis ball with his boys.

Exhausted after a day at work at Cantor Fitzgerald, Mr. Kanter would always summon the energy to play with his sons, Adam and Evan, 22, even as they grew into young men. The trio went bowling together and watched football games on Sundays at their home in Edison.

A systems vice president for Cantor Fitzgerald, Mr. Kanter was working on the 103rd floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 when the first hijacked plane struck the building. His wife of 29 years, Tami, could see the smoking tower from her office in Brooklyn, and called her husband to make sure he was okay.

"He wasn't concerned. He just shrugged it off when he saw the puffs of smoke," said Tami Kanter. After all, he had come out just fine when the World Trade Center was bombed in 1993.

After the bombing eight years ago, Mr. Kanter spent three months in Pennsylvania, setting up Cantor Fitzgerald's contingency operation system to withstand another disaster. Just days before Sept. 11, he wore his company's 1993 survival T-shirt, emblazoned with a picture of the twin towers.

"He was very proud that he helped set up the contingency plan, which I assume helped them now," Tami Kanter said.

Mr. Kanter was a sports fanatic, and followed the Yankees, Giants and Knicks. He loved rock'n'roll -- Fleetwood Mac and Chicago were his favorites -- and he liked to dance, though his sons said he was terrible at it.

Every night after work, Mr. Kanter and his wife would meet up at a small restaurant near the PATH station in Jersey City for dinner or a drink before getting in their car to head back home to Edison.

The couple was planning a second honeymoon, a three-week trip to Hawaii -- they were to be in Honolulu today.

Raised in Brooklyn, Mr. Kanter graduated from New York University in 1969 with a degree in computer science and went to work for RCA. He joined Cantor Fitzgerald 18 years ago.

The couple lived in Brooklyn for several years, then moved to the Port Reading section of Woodbridge when their sons were babies, and finally to Edison, where they have lived for 10 years.

Profile by Dore Carroll published in THE STAR-LEDGER.

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