Laura Lee Morabito

Laura Lee Morabito
American Flight 11

Manilow and Ice Cream

Laura Lee Morabito, 34, the national sales manager for Qantas Airways, met her future husband in the jacuzzi at an apartment complex where they were neighbors. They shared an appreciation for Barry Manilow's singing, and they sat on the pool deck sharing a bottle of wine and a pizza all evening, even as rain began to fall.

"She just had a beautiful smile," Mark Morabito said.

The beautiful woman he met that night eight years ago had been a tomboy. Her older brother, Jeff DeFazio, was protective of her, and she learned to protect her younger brother, Craig DeFazio. Once, she knocked a tooth from the mouth of a child who picked on Craig.

Perhaps because Jeff had scared away her potential suitors earlier in life, she never told him about Mark until they were engaged.

"I said, 'Tell me about this guy,'" Jeff DeFazio said. He quickly decided that she had found the right match, though, and told his sister, "You guys are probably the only two people I know in the country who like Barry Manilow."

This is how Mrs. Morabito ate ice cream: she would eat only half of her portion, letting the rest melt and then drinking it slowly.

"She would just kind of savor it, as long as she could," Craig DeFazio said.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 27, 2001.

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