Michael Cahill

Michael J. Cahill had been a cross-country runner in high school 20 years ago and at 37, he was still running. Last May he came in third — behind two teenagers — in a field of 100 in the annual five-mile race in East Williston, N.Y., where he lived. (His wife, Colleen, walked it with the kids, Conor, 5, and Fiona, 2, in a double stroller.) It was typical. Mr. Cahill was good at almost everything he did.

That is why Marsh & McLennan, where he had worked for seven years and was a senior vice president and claims attorney on the 99th floor of Tower 1, promoted him posthumously to managing director.

That is why St. John's University Law School, from which he graduated in 1991, is giving him its Dean's Award on Dec. 1.

That is why neighbors in East Williston, where he joined Halloween parades, Christmas tree lightings and other doings, will put up a bench and plaque in his name on the village green, and why 1,000 friends attended a memorial Mass at St. Aidan's Roman Catholic Church in Williston Park on Oct. 1.

And that is why his children, with whom he shared music, sports and trips to the beach, and Colleen, who met him at a Hamptons share house in 1990 and adored his wit and honesty, will miss him.

Copyright (c) 2001 by The New York Times Co. Reprinted by permission.

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Mike you are always in my thoughts on the anniversary of your tragic loss along with so many of our valued colleagues.
Bob Gammons, Colleague
Sep 11 2016 9:31AM
Always on my mind st this time of year. God bless you and your family.
Bob Gammons,
Sep 10 2015 6:09PM
Always remembered. Mike was the best of the best of us.
Bob gammons, Colleague
Sep 12 2014 9:38AM
I will never forget you Mike. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to work with you and be your friend... You are and always will be in our thoughts, prayers and hearts...
Jim Loughlin, Friend
Sep 11 2011 12:05PM
Michael, It's been 9 more years since my last tribute, but nothing has changed. You are still the person and professional I aspire to be. I hope your family sees this and takes some pride In knowing the enormity of respect you commanded (but never sought).
Drew Haaser, Colleague
Sep 10 2011 3:30AM
Mike was the one I knew the best out of the three Marsh FINPRO victims whose memorials I attended. When I worked at Marsh for two years in the mid-1990s I had called Mike often for his advice on fidelity insurance matters (about which I knew nothing and he was an expert.) When I returned to working for AIG, I dealt with Mike from the other side of the table. The universal opinion on Mike was that he was a great guy who was always willing to help out and had as much integrity as anyone in the business. He was the kind of guy who you knew would be an exemplary brother or teammate; Mike was always there for you when you needed him. Mike's memorial service was held at St. Aidan's Church in East Williston, New York (Long Island) on a morning in early October of 2001. The place was already jammed 20 minutes before the start. In retrospect I recall a rainy and gloomy day but I'm not sure if my memory is accurate or simply clouded by the general nature of the proceedings. Like hundreds of others in the packed church, I filed in quietly and found a seat. What transpired over the next hour I won't recount in detail, although I can tell you that the first three to speak at the ceremony (Mike's parish priest, his brother and his boss at Marsh, Tom Vietor) all rose to the occasion and did an admirable job under staggeringly sad conditions. The last eulogist however, Mike's wife Colleen, left to rear their two beautiful young children herself, took it to another level. She spoke with unparalleled eloquence, passion and composure. I don't think I'll ever truly understand from where Colleen drew her strength (the inspiring memories of Mike, no doubt, had much to do with it), but I have never witnessed such a display of courage and composure in the face of a tragedy of this magnitude. Her eulogy was funny, endearing and engaging. It was simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking. It captured the essence of Mike perfectly, at least as I knew him, which only magnified our sense of loss. She recounted, among other things, that the story of who-pursued-who in the relationship differed depending upon whose version you heard, Mike's or Colleen's. They had met as summer-share housemates in the Hamptons. According to Mike's version, Colleen sat by the pool reading a paperback with eyeholes cut right through the book so that she could follow his every move. Colleen's eyes, amazingly, remained dry throughout the eulogy. Both her words and their deliverance were truly inspirational. The final piece to Colleen's tribute was an REM song, one of Mike's favorites. St. Aidan's graciously allowed the family to play the recording over the church's loudspeakers as the memorial concluded and people filed out even though, strictly speaking, it was against church policy. I don't recall the title, but it was about a guy who, smitten with a woman, calls to ask her out but gets her answering machine. It mirrored in a way Mike's own courting of Colleen. As the song played my eyes were drawn to the couple's innocent children fidgeting in the front pew of the church. It was a sledgehammer of sadness and it found its mark in most of us. As Colleen walked up the center isle to exit, the previously-muted sobs of the crowd began to rise in unison, unabated. All but those few souls who had already cried themselves out were in tears as the church emptied.
Larry Goanos, Colleague
Aug 30 2011 9:21PM
I will always remember the good time he had at his wedding. He was a devoted father and loved his wife and had a true zest for life.
Eileen Thiery, Friend
Sep 13 2007 9:32PM
I have been affected by the loss of so many colleagues, but none greater than Michael. We worked together on several mutual clients in the late 1990s, and I developed a tremendous respect for Michael as a colleague and a person. He epitomized every quality I would hope to have: he was highly intelligent, always in good humor, kind and attentive, quick to respond, unflappable and a perfect gentleman. He will always stay with me as an example of the professional and person I aspire to be.
Drew Haaser, Colleague
Sep 11 2002 2:17PM