Lisa Gordenstein (Fenn)

Lisa Gordenstein (Fenn)
American Flight 11

A Kiss Before She Left

Lisa Fenn Gordenstein had a way of doing things to make the people in her life feel special, whether it was branding them with silly nicknames or slipping motivational notes under an office door.

She called her husband, David Gordenstein, Chez. (No relation to the French word for house, he said.) She also called him "Jessica."

"Go figure," Mr. Gordenstein said of his nicknames. She called her sister, Debby Fenn, "Garmy," he said.

"I often wondered why this phenomenon took place," Mr. Gordenstein said. "It came to me the other day that this was the way Lisa made everyone feel a little extra special. She had a great sense of people."

Mrs. Gordenstein, 41, had worked in the clothing industry for years, most recently as an assistant vice president of the TJX Companies. She was traveling on business on American Airlines Flight 11 on the day of the attacks. But before she left her home in Needham, Mass., at 5 a.m., she insisted on waking her two daughters, Samantha, 7, and Carly, 3 1/2, and kissing them goodbye. "Thank God she did," her husband said.

The night before, Mr. Gordenstein found a note that his wife had slipped under his office door. It was a poem about maintaining a positive attitude no matter what happens in life.

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

Lisa Gordenstein,

TJX executive, 41

By Globe Staff, 9/19/2001

Lisa Fenn Gordenstein of Needham, assistant vice president and merchandise manager of the TJX companies, was killed Tuesday in the crash of American Airlines Flight 11 in New York. She was 41.

Mrs. Gordenstein was a native of Dedham. A 1977 graduate of Brookline High School, she received a degree in merchandising from Syracuse University in 1981.

She then entered a training program with Saks Fifth Avenue in New York.

In a written statement, TJX president and CEO Ted English said, "Lisa had a heart as big as the ocean. She was a person to whom other associates went for help and she was always available for her co-workers. She was a great businesswoman and a wonderfully creative merchant. Most of all, Lisa loved being a mom."

Mrs. Gordenstein was traveling to California to help open a store there.

She leaves her husband, David; two daughters, Samantha and Carly; her mother, Dorothy (Reinhart) Grodberg of Jamaica Plain; her stepfather, Robert S. Grodberg; her grandmother, Lillian Reinhart of Brookline; and a sister, Debby Fenn of Belmont.

A memorial service was held Friday in Temple Israel in Boston.

Editorial Obituary published in THE BOSTON GLOBE on 9/19/2001.

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