Big Laugh, Big Personality
On the 6:36 a.m. out of Darien, Conn., protocol dictates that commuters talk in murmurs, something that Stephen LaMantia could never get the hang of. His bellowing laugh and his tales of his latest practical jokes and feats in golf, tennis and paddle ball would reverberate through the train car he took to work as a bond broker at Cantor Fitzgerald.
"Steve could not be quiet," said Jim Hughes, his brother-in-law. Mr. LaMantia, 38, was an energetic, hard-charging financial warrior during the week, but weekends were reserved for his wife, Kim, and two young children. He was one of the few men whom the mothers on the cul-de-sac trusted to watch over the children as they gamboled from yard to yard.
Mr. LaMantia had been president of his fraternity in college, and was the self-proclaimed captain of the cul-de-sac. When newcomers moved in, he would tell them the most important, if unofficial, rule: "It's unacceptable to mow your own lawn - you'll have to hire someone to do it," he would say, "because otherwise, my wife will make me mow ours."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 3, 2001.