Paige Farley Hackel

Paige Farley Hackel
American Flight 11

Taking Miss J to Disneyland


They were best friends, close as sisters, and they were headed to California. Paige Farley- Hackel, and Ruth McCourt were going to fly from Boston together on United Airlines Flight 175, but when Ms. Farley- Hackel realized she could use frequent flyer miles, she got a ticket for American Airlines Flight 11 instead. Ms. McCourt, who was flying with her 4-year-old daughter, Juliana, and Ms. Farley-Hackel said goodbye in the early morning hours at Logan International Airport in Boston on Sept. 11, and boarded their planes.

The women had planned on meeting in Los Angeles and taking Juliana to Disneyland. Ms. Farley-Hackel's plane was hijacked and struck the north tower of the World Trade Center. Ms. McCourt's and Juliana's flight, hijacked as well, crashed into the south tower shortly thereafter.

The mother and daughter would have been a striking pair sitting together, said Ms. McCourt's mother, Paula Clifford Scott, what with Ms. McCourt's long red hair and Juliana's blond locks. She was only 4, but already Juliana, nicknamed Miss J, displayed a little sense of wit.

"And she was a nurturer like her mother," Ms. Scott said.

Ruth McCourt, who was 45 and a homemaker from New London, Conn., met Ms. Farley-Hackel at the day spa she used to own in Boston. She gave up the business when she got married six years ago, but the friendship lasted. The two women often traveled together. They shared passions for reading and cooking and learning new things.

Ms. Farley-Hackel, who was 46 and a writer and motivational speaker from Newton, Mass., was looking forward to having the first few episodes of her new radio program, "Spiritually Speaking," hit the airwaves. She had a dream: in two years or so, she wanted to either be featured on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" or be Oprah's biggest rival, said her husband, Allan Hackel.

Recently, the Oprah show included a memorial segment about Ms. Farley-Hackel's friendship with Ms. McCourt and Juliana.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 13, 2001.


Paige Farley Hackel, 46, of Newton: Budding spiritual counselor since entering substance abuse recovery 16 years ago. Hackel was going to California to talk with producers of a radio program she hoped to host, to be called Spiritually Speaking. She leaves behind her husband of eight years, Allan Hackel, owner of an advertising and bartering firm.

Profile courtesy of WWW.BOSTON.COM.




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