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In Remembrance
Age:
53
Place of Residence:
Yardley, PA
Location on 9/11:
Two WTC
Occupation:
AON Corporation | Senior Vice President
Reflections:
The New York Times Portraits of Grief
Donald G. Havlish Memorial Scholarship
Hobbies and Special Interests:
insurance
law
Biography:

The day Michaela Havlish started preschool was going to be a very big deal. She couldn't wait for her father to come home from work that night so she could tell him all about it.

Michaela's first day of school was Sept. 11, and her father never came home. Donald G. Havlish Jr., 53, a senior vice president of Aon Consulting, was among the thousands killed in the World Trade Center attack.

That first night, Fiona Havlish told Michaela that "Daddy's building was in an accident, a big accident, and nobody knows where Daddy is." Later, she changed the explanation to "he's up in heaven, guarding us."

The couple married in 1993 after a five-year courtship. Don was "a great stepdad" to Fiona's two children, now 18 and 20. Yet at nearly 50, he never expected to have another shot at parenthood. He called Michaela, who will turn 4 on Oct. 17, "my little miracle," Fiona recalled.

After Michaela was born, he made it a point to ask business associates about their families, "encouraging them to focus on what's important." Havlish also stopped taking overnight business trips.

He had a law degree from Duquesne University but made his living as "a broker of insurance," arranging corporate benefit packages. The commute from his home in Yardley, Pa., to the World Trade Center took up to 90 minutes each way, but he made it a point to get home by 7 p.m. so he could have the evening with his family.

Since Sept. 11, Fiona hasn't been back to her job as a visiting nurse. She holds her days together by making lists of everything that needs to be accomplished. Her loss drags at her like an undertow, yet she's determined to keep her husband's memory alive for their daughter--and herself.

"I was very lucky," Fiona says. "I got to fall in love at first sight, and I got to stay in love the whole time."

Profile courtesy of THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE