Solicitous of All
Mark and Jill Zangrilli met as teenagers working at Fortunoff's in Wayne, N.J., and began a happily-ever-after life that was the envy of all who knew them. Until Mr. Zangrilli's death, while attending a business meeting in the World Trade Center, he kissed his sleeping wife each and every morning and she greeted him at the front door each and every night.
Without a peep of complaint, Mr. Zangrilli, 36, would go to the pharmacy in the middle of the night if his wife had a cold or cramps. He praised her meals even when they were mediocre and never said a word if she put on a few extra pounds. If 3-year-old Alexander or 18-month-old Nicholas woke in the night, he was right there beside her in the family room with the fussy child.
Such solicitude extended to his four siblings, his parents and his in-laws. Mrs. Zangrilli says she knew he was a keeper when she watched him, at 19, put drops in his mother's eyes. Mr. Zangrilli's sisters, 30-year old twins, remember his teaching them to ride bicycles he had built from parts and tolerating their screechy violin concerts when he came home with a date.
If there is consolation amid sorrow, Mrs. Zangrilli said, it is that their feelings for each other never went unexpressed. On their last weekend together, on a Jersey Shore beach with the children playing at their feet, "we got choked up talking about how lucky we were," she said. And they decided to try for another baby come spring.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on January 22, 2002.
Mark Zangrilli, 36, a solid family man
Every morning, Mark Zangrilli would get ready for work and kiss his wife and two sons good-bye, being careful not to wake them as he left for work in New York City.
Every evening, the insurance underwriter would call his wife, Jill, around 7 p.m. from the Lincoln Park train station to let her know he was on his way home.
"We would always wait for him by the door," Jill Zangrilli said. "Every day was a celebration."
But on Sept. 11, everything fell out of routine.
Mr. Zangrilli had an early meeting scheduled and was rushing around the house getting ready. His sons, Alexander, 3, and Nicholas, 11/2, were awake and upset that he was leaving, so he sneaked out of the house without saying good-bye.
"It was the first time in 14 years he didn't get to say good-bye," Jill Zangrilli said.
Mr. Zangrilli, 36, of Pompton Plains, died in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center. He was attending a meeting at Aon Corp. at Two World Trade Center when a hijacked plane hit the tower.
Mr. Zangrilli, who worked for AXA Corporate on Water Street, left a message on the answering machine after the first plane hit.
"He said they were going to start evacuating the 105th floor and he would call me soon as he got down," Jill Zangrilli said.
More than 80 family members and friends scoured hospitals and lists of survivors on the Internet looking for Mark with no success, Jill Zangrilli said.
Mr. Zangrilli was born in Passaic and raised in Pequannock before moving to Lincoln Park 14 years ago. The family moved to Pompton Plains in January.
Mr. Zangrilli graduated from the New Jersey Institute of Technology with a chemical engineering degree in 1987. He worked as an insurance underwriter for Kemper National Insurance Co. at the World Trade Center for 12 years. He helped evacuate several employees out of their office after the 1993 bombing in the Trade Center basement.
"His former co-workers have sent e-mails talking about how well he handled it," Jill Zangrilli said. "He was the last one off the floor."
Mr. Zangrilli's weekends were dedicated to his family, taking his sons everywhere with him to run errands.
"They (his sons) feel the loss," said Jill Zangrilli, who is helping the boys compile a "Daddy scrapbook" in memory of their father.
Mr. Zangrilli also leaves behind his parents, Emil and Rose Zangrilli of Pequannock; a brother, Richard Zangrilli of Pequannock; three sisters, Linda Spinella of Wayne, Karen DeRosa of West Caldwell and Kim Zangrilli of Pompton Plains, and a host of brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews and nieces.
A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at Our Lady of Good Counsel Roman Catholic Church in Pompton Plains.
Contributions can be sent to the Mark Zangrilli Children's Trust Fund, c/o Columbia Savings Bank, Pompton Plains, N.J. 07444, Attn. Wanda.
Profile by Robert E. Williams III published in THE STAR-LEDGER.