Michael C. Sorresse, 34, family was key
Michael C. Sorresse loved working in the World Trade Center. When he was driving along the Turnpike with his wife, Catherine, and the Manhattan skyline would come into view, he would point at the building and say, "That's my office, up there on the 100th floor."
Yet, despite his success, he was a humble man. "He always gave people that respect that was due to them," said his mother, Maria Sorresse. "He was successful, but never, ever did anyone know that. His brothers needed him, he was there. His sisters needed him, he was there. He touched everyone."
On Sept. 11, Mr. Sorresse kissed and hugged his wife, said, "I love you and see you tonight," and headed off to his job as vice president at Marsh USA Agencies. When the first plane hit One World Trade Center, Catherine Sorresse called her husband but wasn't able to get through.
Mr. Sorresse, 34, was a graduate of Whippany Park High School and had a degree in business economics from Rutgers University. He also had a master's degree in business economics from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
He met his wife, then Catherine Naiva, more than five years ago through a mutual friend. The two were married in May 2000. Just last November, they bought a house in Morris Plains.
"We loved to get together with friends," Catherine Sorresse said. "We loved to have people over. He was just a tremendous family guy. That was one of the things I loved about him first."
Leonard Sorresse Jr., Mr. Sorresse's younger brother, agreed. He had two nieces and a nephew, and he enjoyed being an uncle. "He would get right down on the floor with the kids, wrestle around," he said.
"He was a bright, energetic, fun- loving guy who would do anything possible to support our family and his friends," he said.
He also tried to convince his family to adopt a healthy lifestyle. An athlete himself, he enjoyed running, biking and hiking. He bought his mother a subscription to Prevention magazine and would check in with her to make sure she was reading it. He would take her shopping every Saturday.
"He cared about everybody, he gave everybody a little bit of something," Maria Sorresse said.
In addition to his wife, his brother Leonard and his mother, Mr. Sorresse is survived by his father, Leonard Sorresse Sr.; another brother, Nicholas; a sister, Joanne; a nephew and two nieces.
A memorial service will be held at Our Lady of Mercy Church on Whippany Road in Whippany at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Profile by Paula Saha published in THE STAR-LEDGER.
Making a House a Home
"He always had a plan and a project, and even the occasional Homer Simpson-like harebrained scheme," recalled Michael C. Sorresse's wife, Catherine. The best of these contributed to Mr. Sorresse's success at Marsh Inc., where, at 34, he was already a vice president. But there were also his small-scale ventures in real estate with his brothers, his long efforts to get his mother, Maria, and brother Lenny to eat healthy and his notorious home repair projects, most with mixed results.
There was the time he painted his parents' bathroom without a hitch, but also the time he drove a backhoe into a trench while helping with construction on their house.
In November 2000, he and his wife bought a house in Morris Plains, N. J. "Last summer we replaced a wall in the dining room with new Sheetrock, spackled and painted it," Catherine Sorresse said. "Someone commented that you could still see the seam in the wall, and I was very upset about that because Mike worked so hard on it." When I told him about the comment, instead of getting upset, he paused, laughed, and said, `That's what makes a house a home.'
"From that point on, that was our joke response to anything wrong or annoying that we found with the house. Toilet backed up? That's what makes a house a home!"
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on September 10, 2002.