Paul Andrew Acquaviva
Occupation:Cantor Fitzgerald | Vice PresidentPersonal Memorial Website:http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/memorial/people/2849.htmlwiDedicated Memorial Sites:Reflections:The New York Times Portraits of Grief
Paul Acquaviva was born on October 24, 1971, in Pompton Plains, N.J. to Josephine and Alfred Acquaviva and older sister Kara. Growing up, Paul excelled academically and was a "delight" to have in the classroom. After school hours, he could be seen riding bikes through the neighborhood or playing touch football with his friends. Many of these friendships would last into adulthood. He played P.A.L. basketball and was catcher for many little league baseball teams, his proud father coaching from the sidelines.
Paul attended Wayne Valley High School, where he continued to excel academically, obvious by his straight A grades and induction into the National Honor Society. Paul was such a well rounded person. He was wide receiver for Wayne Valley’s 1989 state championship football team, a starting varsity basketball player, a host for the school’s local cable television program Rock n’ Roll TV; a sports editor for his senior yearbook Embers. During his junior year he met Courtney Seitz, who would become his girlfriend, wife and the love of his life.
Rutgers College was Paul’s choice for his undergraduate studies. He majored in philosophy. A consistent name on the dean’s list, Paul continued to balance his social and academic life exceptionally well. He became a brother in the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, where he again made friendships that would last his lifetime. He participated in Keller (intramural) sports, favoring muddy Sunday football games, and he taught the Princeton Review course to high school students preparing for the SAT’s. Paul could also be seen walking hand in hand with Courtney across campus (she attended Douglass College of Rutgers University) or driving home on a Sunday afternoon for pasta with his family. He received his B.A. in 1994 with honors, including induction into the Phi Beta Kappa society.
Paul attended Columbia University School of Law. After taking Courtney for an Italian dinner on a chilly November evening in 1994 he whisked her by cab to the observation deck of the Empire State Building, Where he proposed. A year and a half later on May 18, 1996, they were married and resided in an off-campus apartment in Manhattan. Paul divided his time between classes, the gym, tutoring underprivileged children, his family, and Saturday night dinners with his friends. The summer of his graduation in 1997 he was admitted to the New Jersey and New York state bars.
Paul began his law career as an associate for Dewey Ballantine in midtown Manhattan. Through long hours, dinners at their desks and endless paperwork, Paul again turned colleagues into friends who were among the first to hear about and see pictures of his first child, Sarah Lizabeth, born on February 23, 1999. Paul delighted in telling stories about Sarah (the little girl he always wanted), such as her reaction to her first bath or how she could pull herself up before she was three months old. A prouder father you could not find. He could make her smile in an instant. When he held her in his arms he was truly a content man. Six months after Sarah was born, Paul and Courtney bought their house in Glen Rock, N.J. and settled into a domestic, happy life.
In March 2000, Paul accepted a position as vice president of corporate development for eSpeed, A B2B infrastructure company started by Cantor Fitzgerald and headquartered in the World Trade Center. He hoped the new position would keep him in the office for fewer hours and allow more time at home with his family. At eSpeed he was able to enjoy evenings and weekends with his daughter. These were good, fun times -long weekends and vacations with Courtney and Sarah, monthly Friday night card games, and hosting an annual holiday party for all his friends -those same friends from elementary school, high school and college.
In April of 2001 Paul and Courtney learned they were expecting their second child! They spent a week in August in Cape May with Paul’s family...he spend the week relaxing with the paper on the front porch, flying a kite with Sarah on the beach as the sun set, strolling on the boardwalk and riding the surf in the ocean. The first week of September Paul spent the last week of his life taking Courtney and Sarah to their favorite Bahamian resort Atlantis. This would be their last trip together before their son, due in December, was to be born. This week was bliss -spending all his time with Courtney and Sarah. Hand in hand they swam, built castles and explored the marine landscape together. As Paul and Courtney sat the Oceanside bar sipping daiquiris, Sarah napping in her stroller, they smiled knowingly at each other. "We have a good life," they agreed. "We are lucky...we just can’t ask for more."
On the morning of September 11, Paul was in his office at eSpeed when a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center resulted in the mass destruction of the entire complex and an unprecedented loss of life. From the 103rd floor of Tower One, Paul was able to phone his wife twice on his cell phone after the first plane hit. Knowing "there is no way out", he called to tell her he loved her. Even facing his own death, he was concerned for his wife and children. The urgency in his voice wasn’t about what was happening around him, but that Courtney knew he loved her - and she does.
Paul was an exceptional human being. He treated all people with dignity, respect, and friendship. He accomplished in 29 tragically short years what many take a lifetime to achieve: a solid, successful career, many good friends, and a loving home with a growing, happy family that adored him as he adored them. Paul was a bright light that will always shine and through his beautiful children he will always live on. One only needs to look at his daughter’s smile or into his son’s eyes to see Paul shining through.