'His Talent Was His Mind'
Several years ago, Battalion Chief Edward F. Geraghty was put in charge of the Fire Department's training school on Randall's Island. On his first day, he gave the new recruits a pep talk, telling them what he expected. After he was done, he turned around to find the school's instructors staring strangely at him. "What did I do wrong?" he asked. One replied, "You're not supposed to be nice, you're supposed to scare the hell out of them."
That would have been difficult for Chief Geraghty, said his wife, Mary. "I was married to Eddie for 17 years and I saw him in a bad mood twice." Even last year, when her father became terminally ill and had to move in with them, when they found out their middle son, James, 12, had juvenile diabetes and when they had a fire in their house that displaced them for several weeks, he kept an optimistic outlook and his sense of humor. She said, "He would always say, `Life doesn't get any better than this.' "
Chief Geraghty, 45, oversaw five firehouses on Manhattan's West Side, all of which responded to the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.
Mrs. Geraghty used to go downstairs every morning and find her husband already reading and studying. "His talent was his mind," she said. Now, when she rises, she sits at the bottom of the stairs as the sun comes up with a picture of him and tells him, "Good morning."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on March 10, 2002.