Barbie's Best Customer
Paul F. Beatini told his 3- year-old daughter Daria that Tuesday wasn't her first real day of preschool. It was only orientation. There was no way Daddy would miss Daria's first day of school, so he would bring her on the first real day, Thursday. That rationalization made sense for both of them and it made Paul, who worked with FM Global, an insurance company, feel better about keeping his morning meeting at Aon.
When Daria woke up on Thursday, she still remembered that Daddy was supposed to take her to school.
For Daria and her older sister, Julia, Daddy was the consummate playmate. He was a ravenous customer at Barbie's bakeshop, ordering multitudes of baguettes and fruit pies. The 6-foot, 6-inch man would pretend to be a rock star in the living room while his little brown-haired girls danced.
After a fulfilling day of play with his daughters, he used to say, "If I died tomorrow, I would die a happy man."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 11, 2001.
Paul Beatini was a towering man, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound former high school basketball player with a love of cooking and a soft spot for his two little girls--5-year-old Julia and 3-year-old Daria.
"He was a very giant person," said his father-in-law Ed Fischer. "Yet with his children, he would get on the ground with them and play like a little kid."
Beatini, 40, of Park Ridge, N.J., was an assistant manager of engineering at insurance company FM Global.
His normal responsibilities were in New Jersey and Connecticut, but he was attending a meeting in the Aon Corp. offices on the 102nd floor of the World Trade Center's south tower.
He called his wife, Susan, just after 8 a.m. to tell her he was in the building's lobby and on his way to the meeting. He asked her to wish their daughter Daria good luck on her first day of preschool.
There were 30 people at his meeting. While some escaped between when American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into the adjacent World Trade Center north tower and United Airlines Flight 175 hit the south tower, Beatini and the three other representatives from FM Global remained unaccounted for.
"The family's at the point where they need to move on," Fischer said. "It's gone beyond missing."
Paul and Susan Beatini would have celebrated their 10th anniversary Sept. 14.
Profile courtesy of THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE.