New York Times Portraits of Grief

Maclovio Lopez

People sometimes wondered why Maclovio Lopez, known as Joe, always wore sunglasses when his picture was taken. The answer: they weren't sunglasses at all. Hiding his eyes were photogray lenses, the same way his demeanor covered his heart.

"He was kind of rough and gruff and I don't think you could really print anything that he would have said," said Rhonda Lopez, his wife of 22 years. "He always had a standing joke about how he got 11 Christmas cards," she said, "because there were 12 bad blah-blah-blahs in the world" who exchanged cards only with one another.

A 41-year-old construction worker who specialized in pipelines, he had been working in Boston and was on United Airlines Flight 175 on his way home to Norwalk, Calif., to visit his wife, his 21-year-old daughter, Dannette, and his 18-year-old son, Joseph. "He loved children," Ms. Lopez said, remembering how he ran behind his daughter when she was learning to ride a bicycle.

But he didn't trust people easily. "If you weren't a little kid you had to wait until he liked you," she said.

"People always saw hard, but really he was soft on the inside," she said. "I think that anybody who really knew him knows what they're going to miss. Anybody else, it wouldn't have mattered to him anyway."