The Valentine's Child
Timothy Ray Ward came into the world on Valentine's Day in 1963, and immediately became the love of his mother's life. "He was everything to me," said his mother, Susie Ward Baker.
Mr. Ward, 38, lived in Scripps Ranch, Calif., with his longtime companion, Linda Brewton, and worked for Rubio's Baja Grill, a chain of Mexican restaurants based in Carlsbad, Calif. He was a systems administrator overseeing the chain's computer networks. On Sept. 11, he was aboard United Airlines Flight 175, heading home from a long weekend on the East Coast.
The tall, blond Mr. Ward loved animals, his mother said, starting with his shaggy white West Highland terrier, Sherman. He was a devoted fan of the San Diego State Aztecs, and would travel around to their football games even after he graduated. At the tailgate parties, people knew to check out what Mr. Ward was serving. He was an accomplished cook, who might pack two kinds of caviar in his picnic basket, along with a chocolate confection he had whipped up himself.
Next year, Valentine's Day will be painful for his mother. "I usually bought him a heart-shaped cake," she said.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 16, 2001.