Cross-country running was something that Thomas Celic learned from his older brother Marty when Tom was a freshman at Monsignor Farrell High School in Staten Island and Marty was the track coach.
'Marty was the one who got him running,' recalled Tom’s wife, Roseanne. And he kept on running, long after Marty Celic, a New York City firefighter, was killed in the line of duty in 1977. Tom Celic ran in races in Staten Island, and in the New York City Marathon, in which he typically finished in the top 300. 'He just loved it,' Mrs. Celic said. 'Running was his passion.'
Mr. Celic, 43, who worked at Marsh & McLennan, was close to both his families -- his own and the one he joined by marrying Roseanne, a Staten Island girl whom he met when she was 17 and he was 19. 'He was a great son-in-law,' said John Tasso, his father-in-law, who lived five minutes away. 'Whenever they would go out, they would ask us to go, and include us.'
After Sept. 11, Roseanne Celic discovered that she was not the only one who thought her husband was funny. His old clients called to tell her stories, and at the memorial service, the church was filled with firefighters from Ladder 17, his brother’s company. 'He made a lot of people laugh, and when he laughed, it was really such a joyous sound that you just laughed too,' she said.