Tough Cookie, Soft Heart
JoAnn Tabeek worked in the World Trade Center for more than 20 years, always for Cantor Fitzgerald. "She was dedicated to her job," said Vincent Milotta, Ms. Tabeek's fiancé. "But she wanted to get out and retire in three years. We had already gone to Florida to look around for a place."
When she wasn't working, Ms. Tabeek, who was 41, spent time with Krystal, her 11-year-old daughter from her first marriage. She liked to shop for clothes. Often, on weekends when Krystal was with her father, Ms. Tabeek and Mr. Milotta would motor to Atlantic City. "We liked to go down and see a show and eat," he said. "We liked being together."
At work, Ms. Tabeek was all business. But appearances often deceive.
"The first impression was of one tough cookie," said Jennifer Megna, a friend and former co-worker at Cantor Fitzgerald. "But once you got to know her she would give you her heart. You could call at 3 or 4 in the morning and talk to her for hours."
On Sept. 13, Ms. Tabeek's body was found, one of only seven to be recovered thus far from Cantor's offices.
"I have her engagement ring around my neck," Mr. Milotta said. "She is with me all the time."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 16, 2001.