New York Times Portraits of Grief

Neil M. Dollard

His family's memories of Neil M. Dollard frequently involve a telephone. There were the calls Mr. Dollard made to his mother, Helen, from his kitchen ("How do you debeard a mussel?") and to his sister Megan ("I'm working with purple basil. Have you ever made purple pesto?") and the endless conversations on the special line that connected him to his brother Peter's office; they spoke "maybe 45 times a day" by Peter Dollard's count.

After high school, Neil Dollard, who was 28, headed straight from Staten Island to Cantor Fitzgerald, signing on as a "bluecoat" who emptied wastebaskets, and working his way up to bond broker. He embraced the lifestyle, building a wardrobe of natty suits and taking on the vocabulary of Wall Street: "waving in" bottles of wine at dinner, for example, to indulge clients. He bought a condominium in Hoboken, N.J., and had a happy relationship with his girlfriend, Kristin Ledzion. They planned to join other family members vacationing in Chiavari, on the coast of Italy, in the middle of September.

He called them there on Sept. 10. "He spoke to all of us, and he told me how much he was looking forward to the trip," his brother said. "He said that when he got there, we were going to wave everything in."