A Lot of Bear Hugs
If the sailboat hadn't gotten lost, they might never have met. If the red- haired nurse hadn't noticed his deepening sunburn and offered him sunscreen, they might not have talked so much. And if the shy man hadn't screwed up the courage to ask for her number, the sweet daily routines of Peter and Meg Moutos would never have evolved.
"He'd say, `I love you, gorgeous woman,' and I'd say, `I love you, handsome young man,' and he'd go off in the morning," Mrs. Moutos said of her husband, 44, a systems consultant at Marsh & McLennan who lived in Chatham, N.J. "At 5 he'd call me: `How's my gorgeous woman?' `How's my handsome young man?' and tell me what time to pick him up at the train, and then we'd go to the Y together in Madison."
They would work out, pick each other up in a bear hug to crack each other's spine, then he would carry her gym bag as they left.
"If we had an irritable day, we wouldn't discuss it until after we were done, because we were always in such better moods after we worked out," she said.
They were married less than a year and a half.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on January 27, 2002.
Peter Moutos, 44, wed just over a year
Married 14 months, Peter and Mary Moutos still considered themselves newlyweds.
Every work day, Peter Moutos would call Mary. "How's my gorgeous woman doing?" each conversation would start. Then the 44-year-old would let her know what time to pick him up at the Chatham station.
There've been no phone calls since Sept. 11, the day terrorists attacked the World Trade Center.
Mr. Moutos was on the 100th floor of the North Tower, the first building that was hit. He had worked since 1991 as an information systems consultant for Marsh USA.
"The day of the attack, I expected him to come home," Mary Moutos, whom everyone calls Meg, said. "I kept thinking if anybody could make it out of there, Peter could.
"I am still hoping he will come home. I will hope until I know in my heart I can't hope anymore."
The 42-year-old woman said instead of bitterness, she feels blessed for the time with her husband.
She had waited to marry. Then she met Peter, "the warmest, kindest, most responsive human being."
Mr. Moutos fit in everywhere he went, said family members. That skill was developed from elementary through high school, when he always seemed to be the new kid.
"I was in the military, so we traveled a lot. But he managed to always be a leader in every school he was in," said his father Gus. "He always had a determination to succeed."
Mr. Moutos had been a Boy Scout. He played baseball and football. He wrestled and earned a presidential fitness award for his physical prowess in 1967-68.
The 1983 graduate of the University of Texas in Austin majored in business administration with an emphasis in engineering.
After college, Mr. Moutos stayed in Texas, working for E Systems.
He moved to New York in 1991 and started working for Marsh & McLennan, now Marsh USA.
In addition to his wife and father, Mr. Moutos is survived by his mother, Gladys, of Enid, Okla.; stepmother Lanette of Salinas, Calif., and a sister, Linda Waugaman of Balikpapan, Indonesia.
Profile by Judith Lucas published in THE STAR-LEDGER.