New York Times Portraits of Grief

Joel Miller

He loved both the dusky mystery of religion and the unblinking logic of computers, and Joel Miller found his way between the two, working at Marsh & McLennan as a disaster-recovery technology specialist, raising a family, enjoying a weekly poker game with friends from his synagogue in Baldwin, on Long Island, and once a week joining in early-morning prayer services, taking a later train to his office in the World Trade Center. Last year he found a way to combine computers and religion, signing up for online courses offered by the Jewish Theological Seminary on topics like the value of prayer, said his wife, Marjorie.

His first wife died of cancer in the early 1990's. Five years ago he married Marjorie, who had been president of the synagogue and had been widowed. They combined their families -- three boys: Adam Miller, Maxwell Sivin and Justin Sivin -- and moved into a new house together.

"It was a blessing, to be so happy and to have that second chance," Mrs. Miller said. "Every night we'd laugh and say we just can't believe it." Her husband, who was 55, would tell her, "You make my heart smile."