Walking to the corner store with Deborah Jacobs Welsh could take an hour, because she greeted everybody.
"She had an incredible knack to make anybody she met feel like they knew her their entire lives," said husband Patrick C. Welsh. The 49-year-old Manhattan woman called upon that skill often as a United Airlines flight attendant.
She was not originally slated to be on Flight 93 the day it crashed into a Pennsylvania field, but was assigned to the flight when she swapped shifts. Her husband didn't even know her new flight number. Those details got lost in the rush of plans they made for dinner and a movie.
So Patrick Welsh spent Sept. 11 in increasing anxiety, waiting for her to call. Instead, the airline did.
He remembers her wearing a crazy, black-spotted, white coat to walk their dalmatian. She was able to hear a song and then play it by ear on piano or guitar. He said she saved leftover airline meals to give to the homeless. He has since found comfort from those whose lives she touched. They leave phone calls of support. They stop him in the street to offer condolences. They tend to a memorial of flowers in front of the Welsh's apartment building, making sure the candles stay lit.
"She was like Jimmy Stewart in 'It's a Wonderful Life.' ... So many people loved her. There are so many people reaching out to help."
Profile courtesy of THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE.