Looking Forward to Baby
Her joke about Firefighter Stanley Smagala was that he was a good wife, said his wife, Dena Smagala. He cooked. He cleaned. He was handy. He was looking forward to having a family.
Firefighter Smagala's first child is due on Jan. 11, four months to the day he died at the World Trade Center as part of the team from Engine Company 226 in Brooklyn. He was 36.
"He loved kids and wanted a big family," Mrs. Smagala said. "He was very much looking forward to this baby."
Her husband's best qualities, his sense of humor and ease with people, were on display when he came to speak about fire safety to the fourth-grade class she taught on Seaford, on Long Island. "He'd act like a little kid," she said. "He had a big heart for children."
Michael Mason, a firefighter at Engine Company 226, said: "He was a real sweetheart, Stan. He was a good fireman. He cared about people and wasn't afraid to do the job." Firefighter Mason recalled that Firefighter Smagala, a big golfer and softball player, had a reputation as a Ping-Pong player.
"He'd always joke around, even at the worst of times," Firefighter Mason said. "I understand that he was laughing that day, on the way to the Towers. He was a real good guy."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 13, 2001.