Margaret Seeliger

Margaret Seeliger
World Trade Center

A Mother's Leanings

Margaret Seeliger gave up her place on a crowded elevator leaving the 100th floor of 2 World Trade Center to two colleagues, an act of generosity that surprised neither her husband nor the oldest of her eight siblings. Worrying about others was her way.

Mrs. Seeliger, 34, worked long hours as head of the student health division for Aon Insurance. Yet most weekends she and her husband, Bruce, were on a plane ‹ either to Buffalo to visit her mother, 64, who is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's disease, or to Rochester, Philadelphia, Atlanta or California to see one of her 11 nieces and nephews ‹ whoever had a special soccer game or a role in a play.

With her 40-year-old sister, Beth Schlehr, who lives in Georgia, Mrs. Seeliger saw to the smallest details of her mother's care: manicure appointments, clothes shopping and maintaining family traditions. She so fully filled her mother's shoes ‹ and so resembled her ‹ that Mrs. Seeliger was known to her nieces and nephews as "grandma."

"She doted on those kids," Bruce Seeliger said.

She even served as delivery-room coach when Mrs. Schlehr had the first of her three children.

Mr. Seeliger said that he and his wife had not yet made "the kiddie decision" because of the demands of their jobs and the cost of life in Manhattan. But Mrs. Schlehr knew better. Margaret Seeliger, precise in all things, had intended to start trying to get pregnant in November and had already laid claim to the cribs and baby clothes in her sister's basement.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 18, 2001.

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