Friends Around the World
Robert Linnane was a horrible dresser. With the ridiculous bright red shorts that he jogged in while training to join the Fire Department and the mismatched get-ups that he called evening wear, he was a walking affront to the eyes.
"We would have to make him go inside and change," said Al Belfiore, a friend.
This shortcoming was tolerated by Firefighter Linnane's friends all over the world because of his cheerful, easygoing and tolerant personality.
An enthusiastic traveler, he had worked for Delta Air Lines for nearly a decade before becoming a firefighter. He took every opportunity to fly off and meet new people, and he often had a pass to bring one of his New York friends along.
"It was a life that people liked hearing stories about," said his brother Vincent.
It was a life that ended at 33 as a New York firefighter — he had passed the daunting physical tests and joined the department after his 30th birthday.
His body was identified by the Grateful Dead tattoo on his ankle. His favorite song, a Dead standard titled "Sugaree," says:
I'll meet you at the Jubilee
If that Jubilee don't come
Maybe I'll meet you on the run.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 5, 2001.