Philip T. "Phil" Guza

Philip T. Phil Guza
World Trade Center

Free-Form Vacations

The rules of life according to Phil Guza: Cats are the worst, never waste time planning and never ever leave home without your suspenders.

At 54, Mr. Guza, a client specialist for Aon, the insurance brokerage, did not seem to mind that his habits made some people laugh. He loved to live life his way, arranging vacations with his sons, Tom and Pete, where the only arrangement he would actually bother to make was buying plane tickets. The rest of the details -- the hotel, the rental car -- were left to chance.

"It was hilarious the way we'd get on a plane and just show up," said Mr. Guza's oldest son, Tom. "He'd get a car and we would just drive until we found a cheap motel or some interesting museum. Dad wasn't much for planning."

Except when it came to his diet, a buffet of burritos, potato chips, RagĂș pasta sauce, pickled herring, canned mackerel and loads of Tabasco sauce on everything, especially crabs. The crabs he insisted on catching himself several times a month, with his sons in tow of course, during trips along the Shrewsbury River in New Jersey. No one is sure how Mr. Guza, a native of Philadelphia, came upon crabbing as a hobby. It was just one of his many quirks, like his hello and goodbye hugs or the voice mail message he left for his son Tom as he watched smoke gush from 1 World Trade Center. "It's a great show up here. I can see the whole thing," the message said.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 6, 2001.

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