Making Time to Help
Rose Duger Duane remembers calling her brother shortly after having a baby and asking if he and his wife could baby-sit. He declined, saying they had plans. But her sister-in-law, Antoinette Duger, quickly called back. Of course, they could watch the baby, Ms. Duane recalled her saying, "I don't know what he was saying."
Ms. Duane feels certain Mrs. Duger canceled the couple's plans so they could help out. Mrs. Duger, 44, an operations associate for First Union on the 47th floor of 1 World Trade Center, was all about family. She rose at 5:30 each morning to spend time with her 8-year-old daughter, Megan, and evenings were dedicated to homework and housekeeping.
Coming from a close-knit Italian family, she was a wonderful cook. Each year she would gather with her mother and sisters to press their own tomatoes and bottle a year's worth of sauce for each. "I think there's a line in literature that sums up Antoinette's life," said Ms. Duane. "It was a simple life, well lived."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 21, 2001.
Antoinette Dugar, 44, put family first
Antoinette Dugar seemed to care more about others than for herself, whether it was putting in a full day for her longtime employer, First Union Corp., or getting home in time for her daughter, Megan.
Or staring disaster in the face.
When a hijacked plane smashed into One World Trade Center, Mrs. Dugar got a call from her sister Silvia. She told her sister not to tell anyone that she remained in First Union's offices on the 47th floor.
"She said, 'Don't call anyone else. I don't want them to worry,' " Silvia DeFilippo said.
It was the last her family would hear from Mrs. Dugar, 44, who was one of four First Union workers lost in the attack.
Her last words fit her personality perfectly, those who knew her said.
"That was Antoinette. Even then, she was concerned about everyone else," DeFilippo said.
Mrs. Dugar, a Belleville resident, was an operations associate for First Union, where she worked for 26 years. The company was her first and only employer.
"She was devoted," said another sister Maria DeRosa of Mrs. Dugar's work ethic.
When her office moved to the World Trade Center eight months ago from another New York City location, Mrs. Dugar was pleased because it made it easier to commute and allowed her more time with her 8-year-old daughter.
She rose every day at 5:30 a.m. to dress and feed her little girl, and rushed home by 6:30 to cook traditional Italian meals for Megan and her husband, Raymond.
The Dugars were about to buy a new home in Parsippany, where the commute would cut further into her day, but where she felt Megan could get a better education.
"Everything was about our daughter," her husband said. "She was all about family values."
Family had always come first for Mrs. Dugar. Brought to New Jersey by Italian immigrant parents, she grew up with three sisters and an extended network of relatives who got together every weekend.
Mrs. Dugar made a sincere effort to get along with everyone in her family.
"You could never have an argument with her, even if you wanted to," DeRosa said. "She always cared about what you thought, and listened to you."
Raised in Newark, Mrs. Dugar attended Barringer High School. First Union hired Mrs. Dugar right out of school, and she worked her way up from a clerical position in an office on Broad Street in Newark.
At the World Trade Center, she marveled at her new view from the 47th floor -- the waters of New York Harbor, the boats, the Statue of Liberty. And the PATH ride home to her family.
"It was a simple life," DeFilippo said, "but it was a good life."
Profile by Jonathan Schuppe published in THE STAR-LEDGER.