Eagles and Baseball Caps
Edward Strauss loved the eagle. He was captivated by its appearance, its bearing, what it stood for. "He felt it was a majestic animal," said his widow, Jane. "And he was a patriot."
Thus Mr. Strauss, 44, a Port Authority manager, maintained a collection of eagles ‹ the porcelain kind. Most of the replicas he kept in a curio cabinet at his home, but he always had a few on display in his office. He liked to gaze at them and have them nearby for others to see.
A devotee of Star Trek, he also had a thing about baseball caps. When he saw a cap, he bought it. Dozens of them accumulated. Caps bearing Looney Tunes characters were a particular weakness. He was a big man (size 22 neck). "Finding a cap that fit his head was amazing," Mrs. Strauss said.
Mr. Strauss was particular about dividing home tasks fairly with his wife. He insisted on doing all the food shopping (his wife cooked). Why? He was expert at detecting the best bargains.
"He would cut out coupons and everything," Mrs. Strauss said. "He did the food shopping with his mother, so he really knew how to do it."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 16, 2001.
Edward Strauss, 44, always on the scene
Whether it was clearing out his mother-in-law's garage to helping a neighbor haul a big-screen television into his home or assisting one of six siblings with a home repair job, Edward Strauss was always there to lend a hand.
The 44-year-old operations chief for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was described by family members as a gentle giant who shared generously his time and talents with friends, family and colleagues rarely asking for anything in return.
The Edison resident was last seen grabbing a bullhorn and running to help evacuate the World Trade Center buildings after two hijacked plants slammed into the two towers on Sept. 11.
"When we heard what happened to the buildings, we knew he was in there," recalled his sister, Theresa Strauss Wood, who lives in Iselin. "From the time he was young, he was taking care of people. That's probably the way he died."
Mr. Strauss joined the Port Authority at 17, working inside the Lincoln Tunnel in a glass booth ready to come to aid of motorists if their vehicle broke down, his father, Edward, said. He rose to his job as operations chief after 24 years spending time at four of the facilities run by the authority, according to his wife, Jane, who met him while working as a toll collector at the tunnel.
"He was a very giving person," she said. "Anybody who needed him, he was there -- at work, at home, anywhere,"
An avid Giants fan and reader of science fiction and military history, Mr. Strauss, who was born in Iselin, was looking forward to enjoying the new family room in his Edison home, which was equipped with a state-of-the-art stereo surround system. "He loved music: from classic to Zydeco and everything in between."
After the first plane hit, Mr. Strauss called his wife and told her he gotten out of his basement office, but advised her he would be busy the rest of the day.
"There's comfort in knowing he was doing what he loved," his sister, Theresa Wood, said. "A big reason why 25,000 people got out of those towers was because of dedicated Port Authority people like Ed."
Besides his wife and sister, Mr. Strauss is survived by his two sons, Justin, 25, and Edward, 12, his parents, Edward and Virginia Strauss of Plano, Texas; three other sisters, Barbara Eicholtz of Colonia, Gia Strauss Teeple of Iselin, and Veronica Strauss Johnson of Plano, Texas; and two brothers, Jay Strauss of Woodbridge and Vincent Strauss of Iselin.
A memorial Mass for Mr. Strauss will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at St. Cecelia in Iselin.
Profile by Tom Johnson published in THE STAR-LEDGER.