Two Trips a Year
This year, for the first time, the Christmas lights outside Gayle Greene's town house in Montville, N.J., are red, white and blue.
Inside, however, nothing has changed: the holly arrangements are scattered about, as are Ms. Greene's cherished antique ornaments and the holiday-themed carousel horses that she collected. "Every nook and cranny of everywhere she ever lived was covered with Christmas stuff," said Eileen Carey, Ms. Greene's best friend and roommate. "So this year, in her honor, every decoration she ever had is going up."
Ms. Greene, 51, worked as a vice president at Marsh & McLennan, commuting two hours each way to the World Trade Center and hauling out her laptop many nights to finish projects as she watched "Eco-Challenge" and other adventure shows on television.
But to satisfy her lifelong wanderlust, Ms. Greene always made time for two trips a year. She adored Alaska, Las Vegas, the Outer Banks of North Carolina and especially Hawaii.
The finest day of her life, she often said, was spent on a catamaran off the emerald- hued Na Pali coast of Kauai.
In her will, she asked that her ashes be scattered there.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 8, 2001.
Gayle Greene, 51, close 'like a sister'
Gayle Greene was a hidden adventurer -- a detective who pored over mysteries by Patricia Cornwall and John Grisham; an athlete who adored watching the Olympics; a risk-taker who enjoyed casinos; and an explorer who cruised around the world, once having even stood atop a glacier in Alaska.
She got her first job in the insurance industry at 19, and steadily moved up the career ladder. "She started out as an underwriter and became vice president," said Eileen Carey, her best friend and roommate.
Carey's and Ms. Greene's mothers were friends even before Carey was born. As the two girls grew up, they also grew closer. Five years ago, since both were single and neither liked living alone, they moved into a Montville townhouse where they cooked dinner together every night, shouting out answers to "Jeopardy."
They had a group of single friends who enjoyed traveling and each other's company. Every Saturday night, they would pick a restaurant where their friends would gather together. They helped each other through family deaths and other life changes. "We had each other and could depend on each other," Carey said.
Born in Maryland, Ms. Greene, 51, grew up in the Bronx where she attended Mount St. Ursula High School. After graduation, she took a job with Fred S. James, an insurance company later bought out by Sedgwick Insurance. In 1999, Marsh purchased Sedgwick, and Ms. Greene office was moved to the Twin Towers. She was Vice President of the Professional Resource Group at Marsh & McLennan, on the 100th floor of One World Trade Center.
She was an outgoing, gregarious woman who was a mild workaholic and was seldom without her laptop computer. Not that she didn't know how to relax; she loved to travel, often accompanying Carey and her family on trips.
"She was like part of our family," Carey said. "She was a member of our family as far as I was concerned, like a sister."
They were supposed to leave on a trip to Europe on Sept. 14. That is why Ms. Greene insisted on going to work Sept. 11, even though she had a bad cold -- she needed to finish her work before they left, she told her friends.
In addition to many close friends, Ms. Greene is survived by her sister, Donna Kramer of California and a niece, Janelle Welch.
A memorial service will be held at 9:45 a.m. Saturday at St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church in Montville. In lieu of flowers, a donation to the American Red Cross would be appreciated.