Fire Officer and Engineer
Captain Thomas Moody loved to give people "the elbow." He would be telling a joke, kidding someone, and if they didn't get it right away, "he would give you the elbow in the ribs," said his wife, Maureen. "He loved to tease."
Captain Moody also had a certain way with names. His daughter Deirdre's first-grade teacher, Mrs. Fear, became Mrs. Afraid. Mr. McDonald became Mr. Arby's. And when he was growing up in Brentwood, on Long Island, his younger sister, Lorraine, became "the secret helper.'' "Whenever he wanted to get my sister to do something, he'd call her his secret helper, and he would con her into doing these little favors for him," recalled Frank Moody, an older brother.
But for all his teasing, and (literal) ribbing, Captain Moody, 45, was quiet at heart. An 18-year veteran of the Fire Department, he was working to be transferred to the hazardous materials team, so he could make full use of his degree in chemical engineering; he started his career as a chemical engineer. He still got consulting work as an engineer, but his adventurous side was most fulfilled working in the Fire Department. "He was in probie school when we met," said Mrs. Moody. "He was so excited about it, so content."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on September 10, 2002.