When the going gets tough, some men fold, some turn to the bottle and others wallow in self- pity. Not the case with Richard J. Klares, a solid and ethical man, both morally and physically upright in the manner of the old school. 'When he died in that absolute massacre, a piece of America died,' said his son, Doug Klares.
The son of a German immigrant who laid tracks for the subway system and a stenographer, Mr. Klares, 59, grew up in Harlem and the Bronx. He went to merchant marine college at Fort Schuyler in the Bronx, and in the fashion of the old days, married his high school sweetheart, Veronica Bavoso.
He was a risk engineer for Marsh & McLennan, and had a meeting Sept. 11 on the 105th floor of the south tower to tell a client how to make its factories more safe.
It is easy to admire a man who is a success, his son said. It’s when a man is down that you can take his true measure.
'When I was in high school, he lost his job and was out of work for a year,' Doug Klares said. 'Every day I’d come home, and he’d be there with his head held high. He never ever gave up. He used to say, `No matter what’s in front of you, attack it, deal with it, be a man.’ '