New York Times Portraits of Grief

Frances Cilente

The assistant for Joseph Shea and Jonathan Uman, two executives at eSpeed who died on Sept. 11, Frances Cilente was saving her money so she could go to nursing school at New York University or the College of Staten Island. "She had gone to a business school, but her heart was actually into medicine," said one of her best friends, Joseph Smith.

Friends said she wanted to be a nurse because she loved helping people. But they also said it was possible that she loved animals just as much as people -- if not more. "She adored animals," Mr. Smith said, "all animals -- dogs, cats, it didn't matter. We used to joke that she was named after St. Francis."

A week or two before the attack, Ms. Cilente, 26, who lived with her parents in Annadale, Staten Island, took her boyfriend, Danny McCurdy, to the Bronx Zoo. The couple stayed there for six hours. "We saw everything," Mr. McCurdy recalled. "The gorillas, the monkeys and the cats, of course."

Ms. Cilente confided in Mr. Smith that she wanted to start a family. She had brought the matter up with Mr. McCurdy, 27, a truck driver from Staten Island, only in passing. "We spoke about marriage here and there but we never sat down and talked about it," Mr. McCurdy said. "I would have married her. That's where this was going to lead up to."