Anthony Guarnieri thought so highly of Frank G. Schott Jr. when the two were working together in 1991 that he fixed Schott up with his sister Dina.
Guarnieri invited both of them to his Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, apartment for dinner, and Dina was instantly impressed.
'He was very gentle, quiet and smart,' Dina Schott said of the man she later married. 'It was great.'
A few days after the dinner, Schott, an animal lover, took Dina on a date to the Bronx Zoo. Then they went to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx to walk around and have dinner.
The couple was married in 1993, moved to Massapequa Park a couple of years later and had three children.
Schott, a 39-year old assistant vice president for technology for Marsh & McClennan, has been missing since the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. He had worked on the 96th floor of Tower One .
'He went to work every day smiling,' his wife said. 'He made my life a happy one, and I will never forget him for it.'
Schott loved simple things, like playing with his children and working in his garden. He liked working in New York City and vacationing in the Adirondack Mountains.
He was also 'very diverse,' his wife said, sponsoring an impoverished child in Costa Rica through a Christian relief organization, and reading up on international wildlife conservation efforts.
In his memory, his wife planted a flowering plum tree and attached a plaque to a brick wall in his garden in their backyard.
She has noticed that her 4-year-old son, Robert, often wanders to the garden and stares quietly. She believes he is thinking about his dad.
She also has a 7-year-old daughter, Erica, and a 7-month-old son, Jonathan. She and the kids recently picked carrots that her husband planted. He also grew strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables.
Although Schott was the one with the green thumb, his wife said she and the kids plan to maintain the garden in his memory. The children are 'very attuned to animals and nature and conserving the environment because of him,' she said.
Schott hated litter, and always made sure the family recycled. He was a member of the Wildlife Conservation Society based at the Bronx Zoo. In the weeks before his death, he read an article in the society magazine about the diminishing cheetah population.
He had some questions about an effort to preserve the cheetahs and so he called researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society to ask them directly. 'He was like that,' his wife said.
After her husband’s death, Dina Schott got a letter from the researchers. 'They sent me the results of the study,' she said. 'They wanted me to know how dynamic and intelligent he was.'
(c) 2001 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.www.newsday.com