New York Times Portraits of Grief

Michael C. Howell

Michael C. Howell rarely took vacations or sick days. He simply found it hard to slow down at Fred Alger Management Inc., where he was the director of management information systems. His high energy also was evident in his tennis game: he played to win. He used to be on the courts nearly every weekend with his 29-year-old son, Kevin, also a computer network engineer. His son was wary of his father's very good forehand.

Mr. Howell, 60, had to make a rotten choice recently. He had been handed a ticket to the United States Open. Should he go? He reluctantly decided that he had too many meetings planned and clients to see. His wife, Emily, remembers how he did the funniest thing. He left his office on the 93rd floor of 1 World Trade Center and drove to his home in Bayside, Queens, staying just long enough to deliver the ticket to her. "He startled me," she says. Then he went straight back to work.