Thomas Kuveikis

Thomas Kuveikis
World Trade Center

Lovable and Complicated

Tommy K. was a fine carpenter, so the guys happily let him build a steam room in Squad 252's firehouse.

Tommy K. was also a fine cook, but the guys almost body-blocked him from the kitchen: not tofu and vegetables, again, man, please!

Thomas Kuveikis, 44, was a lovable bundle of contradictions: a rescue firefighter devoted equally to his job in clamorous Brooklyn and to a secluded home on a dirt road in tiny Kent Cliffs, N.Y.

A strapping vegetarian and environmentalist who joked with his carnivorous buddies. A first-rate slob as a kid (an excavation of his teenage room would uncover the hardtop of a Triumph and a tank full of dead fish) who, said his sister, Chris Peschel, became a Mr. GQ as an adult, impeccably turned out — and were those highlights in your hair, Tommy K?

Two marriages went south, but he spent vacations with his daughter, Kristen.

He was a big-hearted soft touch, the favorite uncle-as-overgrown kid, and an awful businessman when it came to his carpentry jobs. But as a firefighter, he was unusually aggressive. His father, Capt. Peter Kuveikis, "was a legendary tough guy," said a firefighter, "and Tommy K. was on his way to becoming a legend himself."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on June 2, 2002.

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