Kristen Montanaro, 34, was facilities administrator at firm
Dare Kristen Montanaro to dye her hair and she'd have the bottle in hand. Travel? There were no geographic boundaries for the adventurous 34-year-old from Rosebank.Last September, she romped around Madrid with her two sisters -- one her identical twin -- and a few friends. This October, Ms. Montanaro had planned to absorb the excitement of Las Vegas. But Sept. 11 put an end to her plans and dreams. 'The mementos she brought us back from Spain mean a lot more to us now,' said her mother, Ellen Robb.
Ms. Montanaro was last seen on the 93rd floor of Tower 1 at the World Trade Center, where she worked for Marsh & McLennan. She remains among the missing.
The Rosebank native was three classes shy of her associate's degree in business at Kingsborough College when the terrorists struck. 'She was full of life, very sociable,' said her mother, Ellen Robb. 'She was a normal young girl. She liked to shop and loved to go to the movies.' Ms. Montanaro also appreciated sites closer to home: weekends in Long Beach Island, N.J., evening strolls along the South Beach boardwalk, and walks in
Clove Lakes Park. But as much as she enjoyed having fun, Ms. Montanaro was focused on her career and education.
Employed by Marsh & McLennan for the past 11 years, she worked most recently as a facilities administrator for the global risk and insurance firm. She was responsible for ordering desks, mapping out their placement, and securing office computers, among other things. She first worked in the Broad Street offices of Johnson & Higgins, which was later purchased by Marsh & McLennan. Prior to entering the insurance industry, Ms. Montanaro was an administrative assistant for Duome Associates, an advertising company in Downtown Manhattan.
Ms. Montanaro was a graduate of Curtis High School and took evening classes at Kingsborough. Earlier, she had studied for a year and half at the College of Staten Island.
As a youth, she played softball with the East Shore Little League. Though less athletic in her 20s, she enjoyed bowling, and joined various Island teams with her twin sister, Karen. 'She was a fun person to go out with,' Karen said. 'She was up for anything.' The identical twins were often mistaken for one another, and had a knack for leaving the Mall with the same outfits -- even when shopping separately. With their younger sister, Jamie, the twins spent summers at Long Beach Island, often renting a beach house with friends. 'She had a special bond with her identical twin sister, Karen,' said Ms.Robb. 'They always needed each other and were very close.'
Three weeks after Sept. 11, Ruby, the family dog, had to be put to sleep -- a sad event that, oddly, now makes family members smile. 'She used to call Ruby 'Angel,' and she wasn't a particularly friendly dog. That was always a source of laughs,' Ms. Robb said. 'We hope Ruby miraculously made it to heaven and is with Kristen.'
Ms. Montanaro participated in at least five walk-a-thons to raise money for juvenile diabetes research, a cause close to her heart. Both her younger sister and her father have the disease. 'She was someone you could turn to. We were a tight-knit group of sisters,' said Jamie. 'None of us were married and we all depended on each other.'
In addition to her parents, Ellen Robb and Frank Montanaro, and her sisters, Karen and Jamie, survivors include her maternal grandmother, Christine Robb,and her paternal grandmother, Lorraine Montanaro.
Copyright 2002. Reprinted with permission from the Staten Island Advance.