Christopher M. Colasanti

World Trade Center

The Best Way to Know God

One phrase in a book on grieving that someone gave her after her husband, Christopher Colasanti, was killed in the World Trade Center attack has stayed with Kelly Colasanti: "The best way to know God is to love many things."

Kelly and her two daughters went to Liberty State Park, where a memorial wall has been set up for victims, and she wrote, "Chris loved many things. We love you. We miss you. You're with us."

It is a small tribute to the love of her life, to the end of what friends and neighbors often cited as the perfect family. Here are some of the moments and familiar details that stick in her mind: Christopher grew up in South Orange, N.J. and met Kelly in high school. They went to the prom together. He graduated from Dartmouth and became a trader at Cantor Fitzgerald. The young family lived in Hoboken. The night before the attack, Mr. Colasanti gave their girls, Cara and Lauren, their baths. Then he showed Cara his baseball card collection. "We'll be a strong family, the three of us," Kelly said. "We have to live this way because he was so great. We can't let it not be great here because it was so great."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 5, 2001.

Christopher Colasanti, his smile said it all

It was one of those grins that invaded an entire face, right to the twinkling brown Italian eyes. Christopher M. Colasanti smiled a lot during his 33 years, but the smile he saved for his two daughters always had something extra on it.

It was a look of quiet, contented amazement, like he couldn't believe how lucky he was.

"When he was around his girls, he just had that smile on his face all the time," said John Nulty, who grew up with Mr. Colasanti in South Orange. "You could tell he was having that perfect-moment feeling."

On Sept. 11, Mr. Colasanti kissed his wife, Kelly, and children, Cara, 4, and Lauren, 1, before catching an early train to arrive by 7:30 a.m. at Cantor Fitzgerald, where he worked as a bond trader on the 105th floor of the World Trade Center's North Tower.

His plan was to get in early so he could return early to his family in Hoboken. Every night, he gave his girls a bath, then tucked them in.

"He put us first always," Kelly Colasanti said. "He was a great father. He had such a great relationship with both the girls."

Still, he was the guy who maintained ties with the mob of kids he grew up with on West End Avenue in South Orange; the guy who married his high school sweetheart, having met Kelly when they were juniors at Columbia High; the guy who made sure his friends from Dartmouth College got together for dinner several times a year.

He enjoyed the contradictions in his personality and his life.

He was a bow-legged, skinny, bespectacled kid who grew up to be athletic and captain of the high school soccer team and later a triathlete.

He loved playing golf, even though he was lousy at it. He rooted for sports teams that were mostly terrible, like the Nets and Jets, just so he could pull for an underdog.

He gave himself the tongue-in-cheek nickname "The Dominant Force" -- or "Dom" for short -- in the seventh grade, and it stuck with him into adulthood because it was so contrary to everything he was.

"We got along because we ripped each other so well," said John Lynch, his best friend from Dartmouth. "There wasn't anything about each other we wouldn't make fun of. He was just someone you looked forward to having around for a long time."

In addition to his wife and children, Mr Colasanti is survived by his father, Anthony, and two brothers, Gregory and Andrew.

Mr. Colasanti's family and friends will gather to celebrate his life at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in South Orange. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Chris Colasanti Memorial Fund, c/o John Nulty, 121 S. Prospect Street, Verona, N.J. 07044.

Profile by Brad Parks published in THE STAR-LEDGER.

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