The Green Plaid Shirt
The shirt caught Lynn Beckman's eye as she was sitting at an Upper West Side bar five years ago. "It was hideous," she said recently. But the man wearing the green plaid shirt was looking her way so intently that she approached him. "I really like the shirt you're wearing," she told him.
Michael J. Pescherine's answer goes unrecorded, but the two talked until 2 a.m., started dating and were married in 1999. Mr. Pescherine, 32, was a bond trader at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and worked on the 89th floor of 2 World Trade Center.
Michael and Lynn Pescherine were inseparable. They ran the 1999 and 2000 New York marathons together. In their Upper West Side apartment last summer, they watched as the telltale lines on her pregnancy tests got bluer and bluer. "You're getting more pregnant by the minute," he screamed in delight.
Such moments more than made up for Mr. Pescherine's awkward confession that he had not really noticed his future wife at the bar that first night. He was actually watching a Knicks playoff game on the television set above her.
His family — his parents, one sister and three brothers — are awaiting the birth of Mr. Pescherine's son in March. Lynn Pescherine's friends are making the baby a quilt with the green plaid shirt at its center.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 6, 2001.
Michael Pescherine, 32, a top achiever
From the time he was a boy, Michael John Pescherine wanted to be a football player. But a back problem concerned doctors enough that his parents decided to keep him off the football field.
"That was always a heartbreak to him," said his mother, Anne Pescherine. "When he wrote letters as a kid, he would always write that he was going to be a football star."
Yet Mr. Pescherine -- Mike to his friends, or just "Pesch" -- was the type to find a way around an obstacle.
He wound up wrestling and playing baseball at Parsippany High School, where the Denville native graduated with honors in 1987, and for the past two years he ran in the New York City Marathon.
When friends and family gather on Oct. 2 to mourn Mr. Pescherine, who was lost Sept. 11 in the collapse of the South Tower of the World Trade Center, the many accomplishments of his 32 years are what they will recall.
"He was very resilient. That's the kind of guy he was," said his sister, Nancy Gionco of Chester. "He always rose to the occasion and excelled at whatever he did. To most of us, it appeared effortless. It seemed to come naturally."
Still, she said, Mr. Pescherine worked for his success: "When he was a kid he broke his leg, but he insisted we pitch balls to him even though he had a cast."
And he remained devoted to football, if only from the sidelines. He was a huge fan of the Nittany Lions at Penn State University, his alma mater, and the Giants.
He was a top-notch student, as well, earning a master's degree in business finance, and was a successful bond trader, for the last two years with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, on the 89th floor of the Trade Center's South Tower.
He lived with his wife, Lyn, on Manhattan's Upper West Side, and she is to deliver their first child in March. In anticipation of that birth, the family is asking that in lieu of flowers donations be made to an education fund for the child.
The memorial Mass will be held at 7 p.m on Oct. 2 at St. Peter the Apostle Roman Catholic Church in Parsippany, where Mr. Pescherine was baptized and confirmed.
Mr. Pescherine is survived by his wife; his parents, Anne and Thomas; four siblings; and five nieces and nephews.
Profile by David Gibson published in THE STAR-LEDGER.