Richard Bruehert liked challenges. When he wanted to fly an airplane, he went out and took lessons. When he wanted to learn to sail, he did the same.
Bruehert, of Westbury, quit flying a year ago, after a year of training, because he thought it was too dangerous of a hobby to have with a wife and two young daughters.
He went on a friend’s sailboat early this summer and decided that sailing would be the perfect thing to do as a family. So, in August, he went to Virginia for three days of intensive sailing lessons and bought a sailboat on Sept. 7. The next day, he and a friend sailed from Connecticut to Long Island on the boat, which he named the Christina Danielle after his daughters.
Bruehert never got a chance to take his family out on the water. He was on a conference call on the 96th floor of Tower One on Sept. 11. Bruehert sent co-workers text messages on their pagers after the airplane hit below him, saying he was trapped. That is the last contact anyone has made with him. Bruehert, a vice president at Marsh & McLennan, was 38.
'His family made him happy,' said Bruehert’s wife of eight years, Jo Anne. 'He was the only person I know that likes going food shopping with the kids.'
Bruehert would be up first thing in the morning on Saturdays and Sundays, and while his wife was still in bed, he’d take Christina 6, and sometimes Danielle, 2, to the grocery store. While he didn’t like shopping, he liked the time alone with his kids.
When he’d return home, Bruehert would often have Christina by his side as he worked in the yard gardening.
'The whole reason he bought the boat was to do family things,' his wife said. 'I was away in August for about five days, he stayed home with the kids . . . He took Christina out shopping to let her pick out the lifejackets.'
Bruehert, who was vice president of the technology group at Marsh & McLennan, had dreamed of one day becoming chief executive of a company. In 1990, he graduated from Adelphi University in Garden City and, in May, he earned a masters of business from the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University in Brookville.
Bruehert met his future wife within a month after they both started working at the same department in computer security at MetLife in Manhattan in 1989. They were married in 1993. He joined Marsh & McLennan in 1997.
There was standing room only at a memorial Mass in Bruehert’s honor Oct. 4 at St. Brigid’s Roman Catholic Church in Westbury.
The sailboat, a 35-foot Hunter with two staterooms and a main salon, is back at the dealer in Milford, Conn., and Bruehert’s daughter Christina is angry that she’ll never get to sail with her dad.
'The baby, she doesn’t know, she’ll just sometimes hear a sound and say that ’Daddy’s home,’' his wife said. 'But Christina, she doesn’t want to be at home. ... She can’t understand why they can’t find Daddy.'
(c) 2001 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.www.newsday.com