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Michael Gogliormella was born on January 16, 1958 in Brooklyn, NY to Angelo “Mike” and Connie Gogliormella. He died on September 11, 2001, leaving behind his wife of 16 years Daniela and 7-month-old daughter Gillian. His life is a tribute to love, honor, integrity, and courage.
Mike grew up in Brooklyn, NY and attended Brooklyn College, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science in 1980. He was immediately hired at Morgan Guaranty Trust Company (subsequently JPMorgan) on Wall Street in their growing Technology Department and he was placed in their prestigious training program. His career started with 18 years at JPMorgan, where he made lifelong friends. Everyone who worked with him recognized his positive work ethic, his intelligence, his determination to get the job done right, and his kindness. There are not many people who work on Wall Street who have that particular combination.
In 1982, Mike met me, his wife, Daniela. We both attended a business lunch on Christmas Eve, and it was literally, love at first sight. When our eyes met across a long narrow table, I knew I had met someone very special. At the end of the business day, as snow began to fall, and the streets of NYC were emptied because of the holiday, we shared a cab ride home to Brooklyn. This was the beginning of our 19-year relationship, and also the beginning of a bond that continues to this day.
During our marriage, we often commuted together to work, first from Staten Island, then from New Providence, NJ, where we lived since 1988. We often worked late, and enjoyed dinner in NYC before returning home. Mike enjoyed to travel, and we visited many places of the world, including Italy, Paris, London, Alaska, Hawaii, California, and many islands in the Caribbean. This was a wonderful exciting and satisfying part of our life together.
When our daughter Gillian was born in February 2001, Mike was simply overjoyed. I had never seen him as happy as those last precious months of his life, which has been confirmed by everyone who saw him in 2001. He was beside himself with joy, pride, love, and even astonishment that someone so tiny, beautiful and vulnerable could give him such richness in his life. Mike was a hands-on dad, often feeding Gillian and taking care of her by himself. They have the same enormous hazel eyes, the same wonderful fun-loving good nature in their character, and the same genuine gentle laugh.
Mike was a diehard NY Yankees and NY Giants fan. “Giants Sundays” included baked ziti or lasagna and lots of cheering, while wearing Big Blue clothing. He also enjoyed his G-Men Fantasy Football team, which he played with his friends Pete and Tom.
Mike loved to golf and did so with his friends every other Saturday morning. He loved to ski and would challenge the black diamond paths on the slopes. His lifelong friends Barry and Al would often golf and ski with him, and come home with many funny stories about their experiences. Mike loved rock-n-roll music, especially Led Zeppelin in his younger days, and Bruce Springsteen later on. One of the highlights of our lives was when we saw Springsteen’s Born In The USA Tour in Giants Stadium. As a young boy, Mike played Little League baseball with his brothers Vinny and Jerry, and his cousin, Joe, and they often shared stories about how awful they played but how much fun they had.
After JPMorgan, Mike worked at Merrill Lynch in Jersey City for a brief time. In the summer of 2000, he accepted a position at eSpeed, Inc., a division of Cantor Fitzgerald in their Technology Division. Again here he made lifelong friends, who would remember his intelligence and good nature, expressing their memories to me after his death.
Mike was the most intelligent person I have ever known, and lived his life in a most unassuming way. He had the ability to make others feel included and important, while demonstrating his knowledge with kindness and respect. He was a gentle man who filled our home with his presence. The saying that “people will forget what you said and what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” reminds me of Mike because of his positive influence on those he met and knew.
Mike loved NYC, Broadway plays, and going to the movies. His favorite movie was Casablanca; he said it was because “it’s about doing the right thing”. One lesson I take from Mike’s life is that the easy choice is not always the right one, yet the right one, while sometimes difficult, is the only one to make. It is a confirmation of his courage to be true to himself and to have the strength of his convictions.
In the summer of 2001, Mike and I attended two family parties: one at my cousin Neil’s home, and one at his cousin Joe’s house. He was thrilled to see so many members of our family with his new baby daughter. In late August for my 40th birthday, Mike wanted to throw me a huge party with family and friends. I declined, saying that “I’ve never been this happy, there is nothing else I want”. Instead he planned an evening out at a local restaurant with 8 of our friends. In the two weeks before his death, we attended our friends Maria and Pete’s Labor Day BBQ party, and a neighborhood block party. In the first week of September 2001, we went to Cape May NJ for our first family vacation together. It seems that all the people who loved him had an opportunity to see him so happy in the last months of his life. This was a gift.
On the morning of September 11th, 2001, while I fed Gillian in her high chair, Mike kissed us goodbye and said “If I hurry I can make this train”. At the train station, he ran into one of our friends and neighbors, Gary, who was the last one of “us” to see him alive. It is my belief that Mike was unable to escape from the WTC building in time before it collapsed, as he was found under the rubble in December 2001.
More than anything, Mike loved our family. He was completely devoted to me and to Gillian; he is our hero. His influence on my life is profound and endures the passing of time.
Mike’s life is a testament to living with honor, integrity, courage and love. I have been so fortunate to be the love of his life and to have his love in return. I remember him and love him every day.