New York Times Portraits of Grief

Joseph Sacerdote



Friends and family called him Joe Sas, a way around a mouthful of syllables. Joseph Sacerdote was a Brooklyn boy who loved to joke, a guy who ate a dozen garlic cloves on a bond trader's dare and who called a cousin's neighbor named Crystal "Cut Glass." His sister Jane McMillan said he would call her at work and pretend he was a nut on the phone, or leave an urgent message to call back and, when reached, would ask, "The word accommodate, one M or two?"

A vice president of Cantor Fitzgerald's eSpeed division, Mr. Sacerdote, 48, loved going on offbeat vacations with his wife, Arlene, and daughters, Alison and Andrea, like the visit to Dollywood, Dolly Parton's theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. The family obsession was roller coasters. His was karate, and he was proud of his black belt. His locker at Hwang Karate in Freehold, N.J., has been retired.

It would be nice to say that Mr. Sacerdote died the same happy-go-lucky man. But he did not. Alison, 15, died of a brain tumor last April despite 21 operations and Mr. Sacerdote's wild determination to find a cure. Her husband was not the same, Mrs. Sacerdote said. "He tried, but everybody knew it was just a front."