Stephen P. Dimino
Occupation:Cantor Fitzgerald | Senior Vice President & Limited PartnerDedicated Memorial Sites:Reflections:The New York Times Portraits of Grief
Stephen P. Dimino was the "Big Dog," and he never let you forget it.
"Steve referred to himself constantly as Big Dog," Robert Messina, a cousin, said, laughing. "We'd go to Yankees games, get crummy seats, he'd say, 'These are not Big Dog seats.' We'd get a crummy sandwich somewhere, he'd say, 'This is not a Big Dog sandwich.'"
"He was not afraid of making fun of himself," said GiGi Ebert, Mr. Dimino's sister. "He enjoyed life."
Mr. Dimino, 48, of Basking Ridge, was on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center's North Tower when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the building Sept. 11.
"Can you believe it, a big plane hit the building?" he told his wife, Nancy, on the phone. "We're evacuating now."
Mr. Dimino was a limited partner and head of the Securities Lending Division at Cantor Fitzgerald. He had been in the World Trade Center at the time of the 1993 bombing, when he comforted two women, holding their hands all the way down from the 104th floor, according to his daughter, Sabrina.
GiGi Ebert said her brother was a shy but fun-loving kid in Brooklyn, where they grew up.
"When he played football on the street, he was always the smallest one," the Somerset resident recalled. "He played bass fiddle in the high school band. He was a big fan of Roman history. He was into the different Caesars, their reigns."
Mr. Dimino was a skilled trap and skeet marksman, and a fisherman and skier. He loved the peace and quiet he found up in the Poconos. He traveled extensively on his job and would always bring back gifts for his nieces and nephews.
"One of the highlights (of family gatherings) was Uncle Steve performing magic tricks," said Greg Ferris of Green Brook, his brother- in-law. "Every Christmas or Christmas Eve, he insisted all his nieces and nephews wear silly hats. It was the Crazy Hat Contest. He'd be the judge and give out awards."
Mr. Dimino had a stressful, high-level job, but he knew how to cut loose. GiGi Ebert said her brother was a very good dancer, a skill he picked up at a young age, with her help.
"He liked Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers," Ebert said. "He used to set the alarm clock in the middle of the night to watch a movie on TV. Our father could come in and see the two of us dancing."
Ferris described his brother-in- law as "a very easy-going, very positive upbeat" person.
"I'm sure he stayed with his friends and colleagues right until the last moment," Ferris said.
A memorial service was held Sept. 29 at St. James R.C. Church in Basking Ridge. Donations can be sent to the Sabrina Dimino Trust Fund, P.O. Box 5056, Village Center Station, Basking Ridge, N.J. 07920.
Profile by Peter Genovese published in THE STAR-LEDGER