Susan Clyne

Family Tribute:  On September 11, 2001 our lives were forever shattered. My wife Susan Clyne was on the 96th floor of tower no.1. I spoke to her last at 7:15 that morning, as was our ritual each day. It was the last time we spoke. Time has stood still since that day. The kids and I are still in a fog trying to cope with the senselessness of it all.

Sue loved her job at Marsh and loved the view from her 96th Floor office. She had just recently been promoted to SVP and she deserved it. She went to school nights after high school to get her degrees. After graduating in three years she set her sights on Law School all the while working a full time job. She graduated Law School and passed the NYS bar on the first try. She never stepped foot into a courtroom. She loved computers and since computer law wasn’t very popular at the time, she choose to stay in insurance where she carved her niche first as a programmer (self taught) then up the ladder to manager, AVP, VP, and SVP.

She continued going to night school for her MBA. She was upset that she could not graduate before the birth of our twins in 1990. However, as soon as she felt up to the task she completed her MBA just before the birth of our second son in 1991. Did I mention that she loved computers? She also shared her love with our kids. She would mesmerize them with cd roms of Mickey starting with shapes and colors then on to pre 'K' cd’s, math blaster reader rabbit etc. They could work a mouse by the time they were two and were programming by the time they were six. Her education didn’t stop with three children. She continued on for various certifications all pertaining to computers until the birth of our last child in 1997. Another change took place in the late 90’s.Marsh continued to expand and decided to lease space at the World Trade Center. She was thrilled to move.

She let education take a back seat for a while by taken home study courses for her CPCU. She juggled work, family and studying. Her children were her treasures. She adored them and they worshipped her. Her office was filled with their pictures. She developed a family web site (www.clyne.com) with pictures, slide shows and most recently streaming video. They were truly her angels.

Sue got up every morning at 4:45 and was on the 6:00 train to the city. We never saw her that morning. We never even had a chance to say good-bye. In an instant, some radical religious moron decided it was her time.Getting One Last Message to Their Mom

Charlie Clyne of Lindenhurst works for H2M Group (the Melville engineering firm formerly known as Holzmacher, McLendon & Murrell, P.C.). He had just inspected a water tank and was getting ready to leave the job site at 9 a.m.on Sept. 11, when telephones started ringing and people began talking excitedly and anxiously about what they could scarcely believe was happening.

'After that,' he said, 'there was nothing else but news of this plane flying into Tower Number One. They said it hit high up, somewhere in the middle ofthe 90s.' Clyne knew that his wife, Susan, worked in Tower One, and on the 96th floor. At first, he felt that he should get himself into the city immediately. Then, he thought: 'Get to the schools. Get the kids, so theydon’t hear about this at lunch or something.'

He picked up the twins at the Lindenhurst Middle School and took his fifth-grade son out of the Alleghany School next door. Middle School principal Carl San Fillippo was going to try to convince Clyne that his kids would be safer in the school, '...but the expression on his face told methat he already knew something,' San Fillippo said. 'When I got them home,'Clyne said, 'I told them what had happened and I said, ’We have no word, but it doesn’t look good.’ By that time, the second tower had collapsed. I tried to keep them away from the television, but it was impossible. We watched the towers come down, over and over. My sister, Cathy Cretella, was there.

'We knew it was very bad, unless for some reason, she [Susan] was downstairs,' he said. Clyne held out scant hopes of that. Susan Clyne was asenior vice president at Marsh & McLennan, the largest insurance company in the world. A computer analyst in charge of global software design, she most likely would have been in the office.

Clyne and Susan Marie Dietrich had met on a blind date in Massapequa in 1985. Dietrich, then 27, was living in Huntington. Among the memories they learned they shared were those of respective childhoods in Queens. Clyne,then 30, had lived in Cambria Heights before his family moved to Massapequa; Dietrich had grown up in Whitestone.

They married two years after they met, on June 6, 1987, and soon after that bought a house in Lindenhurst. Their first pregnancy resulted in twins, Mikeand Marie, now 11, who were followed by Kevin, 10, who has freckles and already is taller than Mike and appears to relish that; and then, Timothy,4.

Mike and Kevin are masters of the computer (Mike has his own Web site and just completed a sixth-grade computer course in Lindenhurst Middle School,where he served more as a teacher’s assistant than a student). Marie, by comparison, is merely an expert at working on a computer. When asked recently how many computers they have, Mike and Marie looked at each other, barely perceptibly counting on fingertips. They then nodded silently inagreement and answered together: 'Seven.' They were excluding from the obsolete computers in the basement and three or four laptops. They attributed their love, knowledge and passion for computers to their mother.

'Susan was a genius,' Clyne said recently. 'She went through a finance degree from C.W. Post. After that, she worked for a while as an insurance adjustor, and while she was working there, she got annoyed at the attitude of some of the attorneys who called her office. So, she decided she would become a lawyer. She went to [the] Touro law school at night for three years and graduated with a law degree. She passed the bar exam on the first try.She was admitted to the bar in 1988, but she never set foot in a courtroombecause by that time, computers were becoming more and more mainstream, and she just loved computers. She had an Atari way back in the ’70s, and shejust loved everything about computers.'

In the Clyne household, computers dominated the days following the World Trade Center attacks. At 3 p.m. that Tuesday afternoon, Clyne received an e-mail from a former co-worker of Susan’s who said her name had shown up ona 'safe' list, an accounting of company employees who had been spotted aliveand well in the disaster’s aftermath. Clyne didn’t want to tell the kidsuntil he verified it, but Mike and Kevin had found the same information onthe Internet anyway. They said, 'Dad, Dad, Mom’s safe!'

At 3 a.m. Wednesday ('Nobody slept that night,' Clyne said), they learned that the person who had 'seen' Susan Clyne really had only heard of her sighting from someone else, who had heard it from someone else. 'We spent 12 hours calling numbers and writing new phone numbers on the kitchen cabinets: agencies, hospitals, emergency lines. The numbers are all still penciled into the cabinets. I went into the city almost every day for a week and ahalf, just like everyone else, visiting everyplace, asking everyone. Thekids were devastated. They told me later that each night, they thought I wasgoing to surprise them and come home with Mom.

'On the Thursday and Friday after the towers came down, they asked if I thought writing letters to Mom would be a good idea, for when she came home.I said it would be a great idea. They wrote notes. They cut out hearts. They drew pictures. The ideas and thoughts came straight from their souls. By Friday of the second week, when hopes were dim, I went to bed, and when Igot up, they had made this absolutely beautiful, gift-wrapped package, withall the notes inside, and they asked, ’How do we get it to her, now thatshe’s not coming home?’ And Kevin says, ’Balloons.’

'Saturday, we went down to the beach at Robert Moses State Park with 50 or60 helium balloons. As physics would have it, the balloons wouldn’t lift thebox, so they had to modify the idea. They attached the notes and letters with their thoughts and hopes to individual balloons, and we watched those balloons fly away, and it was wonderful.'

People in Lindenhurst and at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic parish andin the school system donated time, energy, money and so much food to theClynes that some of it almost went bad. Clyne was deeply moved and awash ingratitude but said he didn’t want the money. His brother, Pat, who had driven north from Key West, Fla., beginning the day after the attacks, suggested a memorial fund, and the kids jumped at the idea. They would collect money in their mother’s name and buy computers for those in the school district who couldn’t afford them.

'Every dime we get,' Clyne said, 'I want to go into this fund,' which the district is overseeing. On Dec.9, the village is co-sponsoring a Susan M.Clyne memorial 5K run/walk and a number of different events. Said Clyne: 'Iwant to do everything I can to keep her memory alive.'

For information about the run, call Lindenhurst Village Hall at 631-957-7500 or go there for an application. Contributions may be sent to the Susan M.Clyne Memorial Foundation, c/o Lindenhurst Village Hall, 430 South WellwoodAve., Lindenhurst, N.Y. 11757.

(c) 2001 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.www.newsday.com

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I went to school with Michael at RIT. So much of who Sue was lives in Michael, and I'm sure his other siblings as well. Reading this story was deeply touching, and I want to thank you for sharing it with all of us. Eleven years later, and it is still a fresh wound for many of us. Time will never heal the pain that we felt after this day. I'm thinking of you, Michael, and your family on this day. Always remember your mother, and keep making her proud!
Jackie McOmber, Friend
Sep 11 2012 9:56PM
Sue; I cannot believe that 11 years have passed. I miss you very much and think of you every day. It is hard this year with Dad's passing. Now, he is with you. I know Mom and Dad both missed you sooooo much. Kurt
Kurt Dietrich, Family
Sep 11 2012 12:02PM
I was not an employee of marsh when this tragedy happened but I was watching 'The View' this morning and saw your beautiful daughter tell your story. I felt the need to find you on our memorial page to leave my thoughts. I'm so humbled to read your story and comments from family and friends. May God bless your family.
Desiree, Colleague
Sep 9 2011 7:03PM
I worked for Sue for awhile in the late 90's. I still think of her often. She was a wonderful person and even though I had no children of my own in those days I still remember how devoted Sue was to her family and how proud of them she was. Nine years have passed now, but, and many others, have not been forgotten.
Tom D, Colleague
Sep 15 2010 5:16PM
I worked for Sue at Marsh & McLennan in 1984-1985. In retrospective, I have never met a manager or a human being who was kind, sweet and fair human being. At Marsh, she had an open cubicle policy. She never turned anyone away who walked into her office. She always had a smile and quiet intensity that she shared with her team. Her sense of right and wrong and sense of humor was amazing. For the short time that I worked for her, my conversations with her were always filled with amusing discussions on her family life. She was my boss, but I always felt that she was my friend first and could turn to her for some candid and honest advice related to my career. I never felt like she was my 'boss' and she made it a point to always treat her team with respect and dignity. To this date, I have not found another boss who comes within 10,000 feet of her as a human being and as a boss. When I heard of her passing, my heart grew heavy with the thought of her children and family, whom she loved so dearly. I truly cherish the fact that I interacted with Sue and treasure her insights and hope to be the kind of leader she inspired me to be. My deepest sympathies go out to her family. Atul M
Atul Moghe, Colleague
Sep 12 2008 7:49PM
As a fellow Lindenhurst resident, I remember hearing about your loss and was so sad to hear that she had died. I remember being a freshman at Lindy High, and we wanted to do so much to help your family out. I still feel so sad that she had died in the attacks. I hope that you all are doing okay today with the anniversary of the tragedy.
Greg Hill, Friend
Sep 11 2008 7:14PM
My thoughts and prayers are with you all on this sad anniversary. I think of all my MMC colleagues often and hope that their families have found some peace with this tragedy.
L G, Colleague
Sep 11 2008 10:00AM
So much time has passed, yet life still stands still. My company specialized in working with IT managers. I looked up our records and we tried to contact Susan around 9:00 that fateful morning. I forever carry her in my heart, I have been to 'ground zero' so many times and touch her name on the plaque. I never spoke with her but I feel a kindred spirit with her and with your family. I pray the peace that only time and god can provide has touched your hearts. I am sorry for not writing, just know I carry Susan forever in my heart and if you ever need to contact me I'm here for you. With my prayers for your family and peace in your iife. Amir adavoud@gamil.com
Amir Davoud, Friend
Apr 17 2007 1:58AM
Years have passed but I still remember one of my favorite clients. I worked with Sue during her days at Marsh. I truly appreciated the opportunity to work with Susan. Her incredible work ethic and motivating words fueled my desire to succeed. Her love of her family and especially her children was obvious within minutes of meeting her the first time. I feel honored to have known her.
Adam Bilinski, Colleague
Oct 3 2006 12:35PM
I knew Susan from Huntington High School. We among others hung out together.She was part of a group of friends that spent alot of time together during high school. I remember how smart she was and what a great sense of humor she had. After high school we had lost touch. I came to know of her fate from a mutual friend of ours, months later. I was very sad and at the same time very proud of her.I was sad that she had so much living left to do, proud of all she had accomplished. Several years ago the same group decided to get together every other year, had Susan still been alive we would have reached out to invite her. When we are together we toast to her and have a moment of silence. I'm honored to have known her. Susan and her family will be in my prayers forever. I wish her family no other tradegy and only good times going forward.
Paul D. Hanft, Friend
Sep 11 2006 2:33PM
I worked with Sue at Marsh when she first started - she was a bright, shining star - Her family was her world and I can't begin to express my feelings for their loss.
mary zenorini (calhoun), Colleague
Sep 11 2006 12:28PM
I worked for Sue when I left J&H; in 1998. She was a smart, kind and supportive person. I was always impressed by her intelligence and her incredible dedication to both her work and her family. Even though it has now been five years, I still can't believe that Sue and so many of the wonderful people I worked with at J&H;/Marsh are no longer with us. I work in midtown now. When I walk by the 1166 building and I see the memorial in the courtyard I don't just see names etched in glass. I see all of the faces that I remember behind those names. Each time it is a little overewhelming to try and grasp the magnitude of what was lost five years ago.
Tom D'Eletto, Colleague
Sep 11 2006 12:03PM
Mom you are such a great person. you are such an inspiration. i love so much. i miss those days when you took me shopping even if it wasnt your thing. Also i remeber the last outfit you bought me for my first day of middle school. it was a pink shirt and a striped pink skirt with a blue chain belt that said princess. i love you soo much and i feel like i am your little princess.
Marie, Family
May 25 2006 7:49PM
I miss her every day of my life. Four and a half years later the wounds still have not healed and I doubt they ever will. I miss you mom. And I always will.
Michael Clyne, Family
Apr 13 2006 11:12PM
god bless you. my prayers are with you
deb clyne, Friend
Sep 20 2005 9:03AM
i didnt really know sue that well, but i worked with her for a little while. she really suprised me with how much she knew about computers. Her kids and husband (along with computers) were her world. and i feel for the family shes left behind.
Fred, Colleague
Oct 24 2002 10:42AM
I worked with Sue and Sue Martin in midtown. When I first met her, I saw the picture of Marie and the hinged frame with Michael and Kevin's pictures. I knew she had twins, so, trying to make conversation I asked if they were identical. She looked at me strangely and asked how they could be identical when they were of different sexes. We had some things in common: my oldest daughter was born the same Memorial Day weekend as her twins. My twins (who aren't identical even though they are the same sex) are the same age as her youngest. Small world. For years, I have always used Sue as an example of a person that can find a niche in business. To have the insurance, legal, and computer background needed for the contract system at MMC was astounding. When students in my college classes balk at taking computer or something else, I've always remarked at how much I admired Sue's love of learning. Now she'll be a legend. Our sympathies to the Clyne family.
Laura Grieme, Colleague
Sep 12 2002 12:55AM
I had the pleasure of working with Sue for over two years. Her office, plastered with Mickey Mouse stuff, always put a smile on my face. I would sometimes duck my head in, to see how she was doing, or to enquire as to the status of the on-going renovations at home. She would always take time out of her busy schedule to talk to you, or to help you in any way she could. My condolences go out to her family, she was a great person.
Chris Venne, Colleague
Sep 11 2002 12:56PM
I had the privilege of working under Sue Clyne as a consultant. She had always imressed me with her dynamism and knowledge. I still remember how she would sit down with us during company lunches and tell amazing stories. Her children were really her treasures and I remember how she would bring them on the 'bring your children to work' day. Her passing away came as a big shock to me. My deepest symathies to her family.
Pallab Gupta, Colleague
Aug 27 2002 3:29PM
I worked with Sue for a few years at Marsh in the '90's and traveled a bit with her as our development group listened to customer concerns around the country. It was a time when her family was growing, when she would take a little time away from her work to join the banter that formed the comfortable nature of our little group. She had a quick smile, a shopper's eye for things to delight her husband and friends, and I always think of her when I see anything shaped like Mickey Mouse. To the family she's left behind, I send my deepest sympathy.
Carolyn Szala, Colleague
Aug 18 2002 11:44AM