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In Remembrance
Age:
38
Place of Residence:
Glen Ridge, NJ
Location on 9/11:
One WTC
Occupation:
Cantor Fitzgerald | Partner
Biography:

Craig Montano and his brothers were close in age and heart. Although their lives had taken them in different directions, there was nothing they liked better than vacationing with their families in one spot.

Last month, this big, happy gang got together for the last time at a campground on eastern Long Island. During the day they swam, looked for crabs, bodysurfed and hiked. At night, they squeezed into four tents.

Mr. Mantano, 38, a father of three from Glen Ridge, died Sept. 11 at One World Trade Center, where he worked for Cantor Fitzgerald as a government agency securities broker.

"We took a lot of pictures," said his oldest brother, Kevin, a lawyer in Chevy Chase, Md. "His children were all over him, and he was just beaming. When one of them wanted his attention, Craig never said, 'I'm busy right now.' He would look at his child and say, 'What do you want, Sweetpea?' To a child, that's heaven."

Mr. Montano grew up in Valley Stream, N.Y. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1984 and went straight to Wall Street, where he became a bond trader at Drexel Burnham Lambert.

In the late 1980s, when times got tough on the Wall Street, he tried other things. He created Soho Painting Concepts, a paint contracting business. He became a Master Brewer. He opened a restaurant in Lower Manhattan.

Along the way, on May 9, 1992, he married his college sweetheart, Caren Mercer Montano. Four years ago, after the birth of their second child, the couple moved from Manhattan to Glen Ridge.

When the restaurant faltered, an old friend urged Mr. Montano to return to Wall Street and join him at Cantor Fitzgerald. "Within a year, he just surpassed the 30 people at the desk, and they were co-managing the desk," said another friend, Brett Zorse.

Zorse remembers Mr. Mantano for his energy, positive attitude, and ability to take risks. But he also remembers him for his jokes, his warmth, and his ever-present smile.

Two days before a hijacked jetliner crashed into the North Tower and ended his life, Mr. Mantano and his family spent a beautiful summer afternoon at his brother-in-law's home in the Berkshires.

"He was sitting there in a wicker chair with his 9-month-old, Liam, and for some reason, I don't know why, I took a picture of them," said his brother-in-law, James J. Mercer. In it, "Craig is sitting there very proud, with the baby on his knee. Both of them have big smiles."

Profile by Mary Jo Patterson published in THE STAR-LEDGER