A Thoughtful Boyfriend
Let's make one thing clear: Firefighter Jeffrey Stark did the chest- thumping things, too.
He went hunting and fly fishing, he golfed and did carpentry — some activities with distinction, others with good humor. Relatively new to the department, and with two older brothers already there, he had some catching up to do, so he was always trying to hone his skills. Fires made him nervous but what he really dreaded, he told his girlfriend, was making mistakes in front of the other firefighters at Engine Company 230 in Brooklyn.
Tough-guy credentials established.
Because another truth about Firefighter Stark was that he must have dropped down here from Boyfriend Heaven.
Consider: he drove his girlfriend, Katharine Suarez, home every night from law school; took her food when she was studying; dropped off her laundry and picked it up; made three trips to the paint store without complaining when she changed her mind about the kitchen color; went out at 4 a.m. on a New Year's Eve looking for Band Aids for her nasty cut; researched recipes to entice her to eat her broccoli.
He was 30, he looked after his widowed mother, Rosemary, in Staten Island, and he had a quiet, unassuming way about him.
And a startling, melodic, high-pitched laugh.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on January 20, 2002.