New York Times Portraits of Grief

Thomas Damaskinos

Thomas Damaskinos, his wife is quick to point out, was a passionate Denver Broncos fan long before John Elway came along. No, Mr. Damaskinos' Broncos fixation started 23 years ago, when he was 10. His brother gave him a Broncos cap, and that was that. So what if the Broncos lost every game he ever attended?

Last year, for her husband's 32nd birthday, Jennifer Damaskinos found the perfect gift for him -- the official N.F.L. John Elway Retirement Helmet, autographed and embossed with Mr. Elway's career statistics. And when Mile High Stadium was put out of commission, he simply had to have a souvenir.

"He bought two of the seats because he never got to go," Mrs. Damaskinos said. "They are supposed to come next month."

Mr. Damaskinos, vice president for operations at Cantor Fitzgerald, had other obsessions. He taped every single episode of "The Simpson's," for example, and on some nights, he and his wife indulged in Simpson marathons, calling out favorite bits of Simpson dialogue.

And then there were his children, Jessica, 13, by his first wife, and Matthew, 1. Jessica and her father had a nightly ritual. He would tuck her in and then they would race to see who could say "I love you" the fastest and the most.