Together for 16 Years
Matthew McDermott's message impressed his mother-in-law: "I'm going upstairs," he would call from the 104th floor of the World Trade Center, where he was a partner at Cantor Fitzgerald. Matt's working late, his mother-in-law thought.
Mr. McDermott's wife, Susan, translated. "Upstairs" meant Windows on the World, two flights up the back stairs. "Matt's going for cocktails with the guys," Mrs. McDermott said drily.
Mr. McDermott, 34, partied well and often with those guys, a desk of five traders who worked together for nearly a decade. Families dined and vacationed together: the gang had just spent a golf weekend at Mr. McDermott's home in Basking Ridge, N.J., where he lived with Kara, 3, Kelly, 2, and Susan, who is pregnant.
Although Mr. McDermott might complain that his career interfered with his handicap - he was a 7, down from 4 - he was a fortunate fellow and he knew it. His dawn ritual included three or four clothing changes (he usually settled on his original ensemble), the rumble of the garage door, which functioned as the girls' alarm clock, and his goodbye kiss.
"This is a good story," Mrs. McDermott said. "We were together for 16 years. Kara has Matt's smile, Kelly has his eyes - they are wonderful reminders. A lot of people look for this and never find it. How lucky am I?"
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 7, 2001.
Matthew McDermott, 34, lover of golf
Matthew McDermott of Basking Ridge worked long hours as an equity trader at Cantor Fitzgerald in New York and relaxed playing golf with his wife, but his joy was his babies, Kara, 31/2, and Kelly, 2.
"He loved to be with his little girls, he was always a big family man," said Susan McDermott, pregnant with the couple's third child, due next spring.
Up until this year, the family vacationed in Amagansett, on Long Island's South Shore.
"He grew up in Glen Cove, Long Island, so we always made it a point to get out there for family vacations. But this year we went to the Greenbriar in West Virginia for the Fourth of July and we decided that was going to be our annual family ritual because we loved it so much," she said.
But at 8:48 a.m. Sept. 11, Mr. McDermott, 34, called his wife from his 104th floor office in One World Trade Center to say there was some kind of explosion on his floor, that maybe an airplane had hit, and he had to get out of there.
"I was watching Barney at the time so I switched to CNN and couldn't believe my eyes. I saw the second plane hit the other tower and quickly realized this wasn't just a bad accident," she said.
Her husband told her everyone was going try to get out, but when she saw smoke and flames billowing from the middle of the tower, well below his floor, she hoped everyone would go up to try to get some air.
"I knew they'd never be able to get down through that. But when I saw the building collapse later, it was pretty clear . . ." she said.
They met as freshmen business majors at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla. Mr. McDermott played soccer until got injured, and then shifted over to a golf scholarship, which seemed a natural choice. "Growing up, he worked as a caddy and in pro shops," his wife said.
After graduating in 1989, Mr. McDermott got a job at Kidder Peabody in New York. "I got a job across the street. It was fate. We got married in 1996 and lived (on) the Upper West Side," she said.
Mr. McDermott joined Cantor Fitzgerald seven years ago and the family moved to Basking Ridge four years ago, she said.
"He loved to play golf and I loved playing with him. He was a member of the New Jersey National Golf Club in Basking Ridge," she added.
But his favorite course was Pebble Beach in Monterey, Calif. "We played there on our honeymoon, on our way to Hawaii," she said.
Besides his wife and daughters, Mr. McDermott is survived by his parents, Jack and Jackie McDermott of Homosassa, Fla.; two brothers, John of New York City, and Peter of Dublin, Ireland, and two sisters, Suzanne McDermott of Arlington, Va., and Margaret McDermott of Manchester, Conn.
A Memorial Mass for Mr. McDermott is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. James Church in Basking Ridge, one of 10 such Masses for parishioners who died in the terrorist attack.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Matthew T. McDermott Children's Education Fund, 71 Hillside Terrace, Wayne, N.J. 07470, or the Cantor Fitzgerald Foundation, 101 Park Ave., 45th Floor, N.Y., N.Y., 10178.
Profile published by Patrick Jenkins in THE STAR-LEDGER.