I didn't know John Gnazzo, but after looking at his picture while working on this tribute, he seems like someone I would have liked. He was vice president of operations at Cantor Fitzgerald but he wasn't stuffy or arrogant. Only 32 when he was killed on 9/11, he was a quality human being and was loved by all who knew him. These are the words his wife, Helene, wrote in memory of him:
John Gnazzo, a man whom I will always love and honor. A very unique person, with the ability to achieve anything he put his mind to. He had it all smarts, leadership, confidence, loving heart and the looks of an actor. I am so happy to have built a binding relationship with you and together we made a family. I promise you my love, that as long as my eyes are open our children will have the best of everything, just as you would have wanted. They will never not know you for I will always speak of you as if you were in our lives physically. They will feel proud for their father was a great man. You have taught me so much. Your teaching has given me the strength to go on with confidence and teach our children leadership, and love. You are literally the wind beneath my wings. Wherever life leads me you must know my heart belongs to you. Thank you for being part of my life. R.I.P.
How terrible it must have been to have so suddenly and so violently lost the man she thought she would be spending the rest of her life with, raising their children together. All the images of what life was supposed to have been like probably flashed in her mind as she desperately tried to contact her husband.
John's two children were so young when he died. John Vincent was just 3 years old, and little Jule was only 8 months. It's heartbreaking to think that his children only know their father through the stories their mother has told them. I wonder how are they going to remember their father today.
Those who worked with John at Cantor Fitzgerald said he made work less like work and more like fun. He had a penchant for practical jokes, including periodically placing a whoopee cushion on an unsuspecting co-worker's chair. Even though he had an important job with a lot of responsibilities, he wanted to make sure those who worked with him had a good time while they did their jobs.
Unfortunately, John was not unfamiliar with tragedies associated with the World Trade Center. John was in one of the twin towers when it was bombed in 1993. Only 24 years old at the time, he helped a woman confined to a wheelchair down 60 stories to safety. What a selfless thing to do. While others were rushing out of the buildings, panicked, John stayed back and helped a woman that he may or may not have known out of the building. And, unfortunately, just a few years before 9/11, his father had a heart attack and died while working at the WTC.
John, you touched the lives of those around you and are greatly missed. This is what others have said about you:
It will be my honor to read John's name along with my husband's at the 5th memorial at Ground Zero. Your family will be in my prayers that day and always.
I worked with John for 2 years at Cantor Fitzgerald, and he was a just great fun person to work with. He loved those Miami Dolphins when Dan Marino was QB at the time. To this date he was and is the BEST BOSS I ever had. He taught me everything I know about Wall Street and back office work. If there was a problem he was there for you all the time. My prayers go to the Gnazzo Family and to his beautiful children.
Out of all of the people I knew I Cantor, losing John hurts the most. Although I haven't seen him or spoke to him in several years, I remember him as a sweet, loving man and silly memories haunt me. My heart goes out to his wife and children.
Today, I remember John T. Gnazzo, son, brother, husband, father.