Alayne F. Gentul

World Trade Center

She Saved 40 Co-Workers


Alayne Gentul, the director of human resources for Fiduciary Trust Company, was on the 90th floor of 2 World Trade when the first plane hit, but she went up to the 97th, because she thought it was her responsibility to get everybody out. It was particularly difficult to get the people in technical support out, because they were backing things up. As the floor filled with smoke, she called her husband, Jack, the dean of students at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

"She was with a colleague, Ed Emory," Mr. Gentul said. "They made a determination to wet their clothing and put it over their heads and get to the stairwell. She said she loved the kids and we said we loved each other and we said goodbye."

Mr. Gentul started to cry.

"At least we got to say goodbye," he said. "So many didn't. And I know she did something decent. The chair of Fiduciary told me at least 40 people are alive because of Alayne."

Alayne Gentul was 44, had been married for 23 years and lived in Mountain Lakes, N.J.. She taught Bible school for nine years and loved Billy Joel and Louie Prima. Her sons, Alex and Robbie, are 12 and 8.

Asked about treasured moments, her husband offers two, years apart.

"We loved the ocean. Our first kiss was on the beach on Wildwood, N.J. It was a beautiful moonlit night, full moon, and thousands of horseshoe crabs were coming up on the beach to lay their eggs. "

The latter: "Our son is part of a group of junior Sunfish sailors and a few weeks ago, they had a junior moonlight race. A bunch of kids gathered with boats, some decorated with little glow lights, in this beautiful, still, moonlit night. We had this feeling, in this excruciating slow race, of something of incredible beauty. One of those times in life you'll remember."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on September 29, 2001.


Alayne Gentul, 44, devoted mom and exec

As a successful career woman who always made time to play with her sons, Alayne Gentul did it all.

"She was a superb professional manager and always came home to make dinner. Our house always had fresh flowers, as did her garden," said her husband, Jack Gentul. "My wife was one of the only people I ever met who did it all."

Minutes after a hijacked jetliner crashed into the World Trade Center's North Tower, the 44-year-old director of human resources for Fiduciary Trust International was holding the stairwell door open for panicked employees on the 90th floor of the South Tower.

Before the second plane crashed into her building, Mrs. Gentul went up seven flights to help more workers leave the building, her husband said.

Huddled with eight others, she phoned her husband, the dean of students at New Jersey Institute of Technology, to tell him she loved him and their two boys, Alex, 12, and Robbie, 8.

Mrs. Gentul, a Rutgers graduate, and her husband were married in 1978 and waited until she earned a master's in business administration in 1988 before having their first child.

"She never let them down as a working mom," her husband said. "She was always baking cookies for them. If a mom was needed to be a school chaperone, she always volunteered."

Mrs. Gentul, who was a board trustee at Community Church in Mountain Lakes, also taught Sunday school kindergarten there for nine years.

"She could not just sit and watch television," Mr. Gentul said. "She'd be looking over homework, over a spreadsheet for work or doing a lesson plan for Sunday school."

In addition to her husband and sons, Mrs. Gentul is survived by her parents, Harry and Carol Friedenrich of Sun City Center, Fla.; her sister, Lynne Friedenrich of Punta Gorda, Fla; and two brothers, Paul Friedenrich in Orange County, Calif., and John Friedenrich of Idaho.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Community Church in Mountain Lakes.

In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to the Gentul Children's Trust Fund, c/o Carrico Associates, CPAs, 170 Changebridge Road, Unit C5-4, Montville, N.J. 07045.

Profile by Patricia Huang published in THE STAR-LEDGER.




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