Karleton Douglas Beye Fyfe ’92 rarely traveled on business. He had been working as a financial analyst with the John Hancock Co. for nine months when he boarded American Airlines Flight 11, leaving his wife, Haven Conley Fyfe ’94, and 19-month-old son, Jackson, behind in their Brookline, Mass., home.
Fyfe, who grew up in Durham with his older sister, Tiffany Tanguilig ’89, inspired many people in his 31 years. In the days following Sept. 11, two people who knew him well — his uncle, Bill Tammeus, and a friend from UNC, Eric Schellhorn ’92 (MA) — published essays reflecting on Fyfe’s quiet wit, quick intelligence and unusual ability to say the right thing at the right time.
“When Karleton went to college, he made huge numbers of friends, all of whom, it seemed, showed up at his wedding in 1994,” Tammeus wrote in The Kansas City Star. “What good, loving, wonderful people came into Karleton’s circle. How he looked forward to staying in touch with them.”
Schellhorn had been Fyfe’s best man in that wedding. In an essay in The News & Observer, he recalled Fyfe’s deftness with words and kind touch with people. “There are people you’re proud to call friends, and then there are people whose friend you’re proud to be,” Schellhorn wrote. “I always felt I got the better end of our bargain.” Schellhorn recalled getting the flu on the morning of Fyfe’s wedding, passing out cold mid-ceremony, and later, “the vows exchanged in my absence, he … threw his arms around me, and said, without a trace of annoyance, ‘Thanks for giving us the only wedding video in history that’ll be worth watching in slo-mo.’
“My guess is that if he’d been watching Tuesday’s events on TV at home, rather than sitting on a plane bound for Los Angeles, he would have summed everything up with a vintage understatement: ‘Man, whoever did all this … they’re gonna have to give back a lot of those humanitarian awards.’ ”
“He was gentle but clear-eyed, analytical but whimsical,” Tammeus wrote, “as you might expect from someone whose dual majors at The University of North Carolina were economics and, of all things, philosophy.”
Friends of Fyfe, who was active in the GAA’s Carolina Club in Boston, are preparing to set up a scholarship fund in his name at Carolina. It would go to one student each year of similar whimsy, who double-majors in economics and philosophy.
Mary Lou Hague ’96 came to Carolina from Parkersburg, W.Va., a town not unlike Chapel Hill in size. Three years ago, she headed for a much bigger place — New York — and she lived life large. A financial analyst for Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc., she worked on the 89th floor of the second tower in the World Trade Center.
Her friend and Tri-Delta sorority sister Heather Fain ’96 talked to The New York Times about her friend, about how Hague loved Michael Jackson and spent $1,500 to see him the last weekend of her life. She also loved Michael Jordan; her answering machine code was “23.” The Times featured Hague on Sept. 28 in its “A Nation Challenged” compilation of profiles of the Sept. 11 victims.
In Parkersburg, as word spread that Hague was unaccounted for in the World Trade Center disaster, the town was shaken.
“You have many students, but you remember some” more than others, Roger McCune, a veteran teacher at the gifted education program at Parkersburg High School, told the Charleston (W. Va.) Daily Mail. “She is one I remember. Very polished, very poised and sure of herself. Very responsible. … She knew back then where she wanted to go in life.”
After majoring in business at UNC and before moving to New York in 1998, Hague worked in Memphis, Tenn. Her friends said she had been thinking she would like to meet a Southern guy, move back to the South and have a dog.
On the day of the attack, she made phone calls from Tower 2 after Tower 1 had been hit. One call was to her mother, Liza Adams, to tell her she was OK but scared. Adams called back and said to leave immediately. Hague said she would but then heard that instructions had come over the loudspeaker in Tower 2 for employees to stay where they were. She was very responsible. She stayed.
Afterward, Adams went to New York in hopes that her daughter might be alive. She went to the Red Cross and stood in lines with other families who were looking for their loved ones. Two of Hague’s friends and sorority sisters from Chapel Hill — Fain and Elizabeth McWilliams Kimzey ’96 — spent days searching for Hague, filing a missing persons report, posting pictures, going to hospitals and cleaning Hague’s apartment in preparation of their friend’s family.
Later, Kimzey and Fain hosted a combination cocktail party and get-together for about 50 of Hague’s family and friends. The Jackson Five was on the stereo. It felt a little like the ’80s again. “We wanted to make it something she would have really liked,” Fain said. “I think it was a good thing for her family, but I was glad we did it just for us, too.”
An endowed need-based scholarship to UNC in Hague’s memory has been established by a friend. Contributions, marked for the Mary Lou Hague Scholarship, can be sent to UNC Development Office, Attn: Arthur Gregg, P.O. Box 309, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514.
Andrew Marshall King ’83 also had been at work in the World Trade Center in February 1993, when the blast at the Twin Towers killed five people and injured about 1,000 others. King, a partner and currency trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, walked down the 104 floors to the wintry street below. If he ever looked back to that day in concern, his friend from childhood, Phillip Schmitt ’83, never knew about it.
“He lived,” Schmitt said. “He didn’t worry much. He was so dynamic. … He’d walk into a room, buy a drink, light up a cigar and immediately the whole atmosphere in the room would change.”
King worked for Cantor Fitzgerald, commuting 90 minutes or more each way from his home in Princeton, where he lived with his wife, Judy, and three children, Ce Ce, Drew and Carly. He was avid about many things; he loved golf so much that he saved the divot from his first hole-in-one, and when Drew achieved the same feat, “the recipient line on the e-mail was two pages long,” his friend Thomas Pritchard said during a memorial service reported by the Princeton Packet. At least 700 people attended the service, where King’s brother, Spencer, said: “Simply put, he was fuel for all our hearts. He made us all feel better.”
He opted for bear hugs over handshakes and got to know people quickly, well and in high numbers. “He accomplished and experienced more in his 42 years than most people do in a lifetime,” Pritchard said. In King’s two years at Carolina — he transferred in after falling in love with the place during a visit to his pal, Schmitt, and majored in political science — he seemed to get to know more people than most students manage in four years, Schmitt said.
While citing King’s achievements and commitment to his family and friends, the memorial service speakers also noted his unique mannerisms, the Packet reported. Judson Linville, another friend of the family, recalled King’s penchant for wearing “a Carolina blue Tar Heels cap” with orange madras shorts.
“And then there was the kilt,” Linville added, drawing laughter from the attendants, who recalled King’s pride in his Scottish heritage and the kilt he would wear on formal occasions.
As Spencer King ended his remarks, he asked everyone to rise and repeat a refrain, because “I want [Andrew] to hear us. … We love you, Andrew. We miss you, Andrew. We will never forget you, Andrew. God bless you, Andrew.”
Ryan Kohart ’98 never missed a day of work. That’s how Geoffrey Kohart knew, in the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center, that his 26-year-old son, a stock trader with Cantor Fitzgerald, was gone.
It was a job Kohart loved, his father told The Durham Herald-Sun. He was in his office on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center’s Tower 1 when the hijacked aircraft struck the tower.
“When I saw that it happened, I said to my co-workers, ‘Oh my God, Ryan’s up there.’ They said that maybe he didn’t go to work that day, but I knew he never missed a day of work,” Kohart told The Herald-Sun.
Kohart also loved lacrosse. Having come to Carolina after growing up on Long Island, N.Y., he majored in political science and was a four-year letterman at UNC, a winner of the Jay Gallagher Award as the UNC lacrosse team’s outstanding freshman in 1995, and he co-captained the team in his senior year. He also played three seasons with his younger brother, Brett Kohart ’99, who followed him to Chapel Hill and played from 1996-99.
His family has created a memorial scholarship fund to help a future UNC lacrosse player. His father told The Herald-Sun that it is a scholarship that Kohart himself planned to create one day.
“We’re hoping to be able to supply a lacrosse player with financial help,” Geoffrey Kohart told the newspaper. “Ryan would have really liked that.”
Kohart, the third of four boys, also loved to read, travel and collect fine wines. In his junior year, he explored Europe through the University’s study-abroad program and was drawn to Florence, Italy. He returned there a few months ago with his girlfriend, Melissa White, and while there they became engaged to be married.
Kohart’s father also recalls his son’s passion for Carolina football. Just before the kickoff of UNC’s first home game against Florida State, the nearly 60,000 fans in attendance stood quietly in a moment of silence for Ryan Kohart.
His father said, “The fact that they announced my son’s name, I know he was up there, over Kenan Stadium, smiling.”
Contributions to the Ryan Kohart Memorial Scholarship Fund may be sent to The Educational Foundation, care of Sue Walsh, UNC, P.O. Box 2446, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27515.
Dora Menchaca ’78 (MSPH) was a research scientist with a strong maternal instinct, caring for her co-workers as well her husband and two children. “She would remind all of the men, including me, how important it was to get prostate screenings, since she had worked on a trial [for a drug to treat prostate cancer],” Dr. David Goodkin, vice president of clinical research at Amgen Inc., told the Santa Monica Mirror. “She was very upbeat, very devoted to trying to advance science, particularly to find drugs to treat cancer.”
On Sept. 10, Menchaca, an associate director for Amgen, one of the nation’s leading biotech firms, met with U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials. The meeting represented one step in seeking government approval for a new prostate cancer drug. When the meetings ended early, Menchaca called home to her husband, Earl Dorsey, in Santa Monica to let him know she’d be taking the next available flight.
“Whenever they had a product that was close to approval, Dora would make the trip to Washington” to meet with the FDA, said Dorsey in a story reported by Newsday.
That return trip was on American Airlines Flight 77 from Washington’s Dulles Airport, the plane that hit the Pentagon.
“I was watching the accounts on TV, and I knew that Dora was on the flight,” Dorsey said. Later that day, his fears were confirmed.
The couple, who met when they were both graduate students at UCLA, have two children, daughter Imani, 18, who is a freshman at the University of Portland, and son Jaryd, 5. “Dora enjoyed being home, working in her garden and making our house into a home,” Dorsey told Newsday.
“Dora was a very experienced and talented woman,” Goodkin told the Santa Monica Mirror. “Her job required not only scientific smarts, but leadership, and administrative ability. She was a people person, very beloved by her team members and co-workers.”
More than 500 people attended a candlelight vigil at Grant Elementary School, where Menchaca’s son has just begun kindergarten, in honor of Menchaca and the other victims of the terrorist attacks.
Christopher Quackenbush ’79 was “a man who wore Armani suits and wore Santa suits,” his brother, Michael Quackenbush ’77, recalled in an interview with The Durham Herald-Sun. As a founding principal in the investment banking firm of Sandler O’Neill & Partners, with offices in the World Trade Center, he had put his wealth to work for others, an attribute recalled many times by his friends and family in the weeks since Sept. 11.
Michael recalled his brother saying: “ ‘I’m the luckiest guy. I have the capacity now and the opportunity to do good things.’ ” Among those good things was his creation of the Jacob Marley Foundation; each year in its name, he took 600 children to Shea Stadium for a Mets game. The foundation’s name, from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, set the tone that Chris sought, Michael said: “Marley is the one who comes back and says to Scrooge: ‘You have a responsibility to take care of people.’
“He really got a sense of joy out of it,” Michael said.
Sandler O’Neill also has a reputation for community service and support of one another. When the firm reopened for business on Sept. 17, Jimmy Dunne, a managing partner, had a sign on his door: “Chris Quackenbush, missing, born Jan. 5, 1957, 195 pounds, 6 feet 4,” according to a Newsday article.
“He was able to reach a lot of people,” Michael said. “I’m finding out things he did.”
The things Chris did included serving on UNC’s Board of Visitors; his term ran through 2003. His family has numerous ties to Carolina, with his parents and three of his four siblings graduating from Carolina; his niece is a sophomore here now. His grandfather was a professor at UNC, and in 1996 Chris established, in his grandfather’s name, the Albert Ray Newsome Distinguished Professorship for the Study of the South. Newsome had been a history faculty member for nearly 20 years at UNC and for 16 years had served as department chairman.
“He was tremendously giving and philanthropic, and he loved Carolina,” said Arthur Gregg from UNC’s Development Office. “He believed strongly in giving back.” Among his more recent interests at Carolina was the restoration of Memorial Hall. He also endowed a scholarship for women’s lacrosse and contributed to the renovations of Finley Golf Course, Kenan Stadium, Navy field and the softball field.
Chris, his wife, Traci, and their children — Whitney, 11; Christopher James “C.J.,” 9; and Kelsey, 6 — lived in Manhasset, N.Y., the home of 22 of Sept. 11’s victims.“We’re talking soccer fields with lots of dads missing. There was such an intensity of loss,” Michael said. He estimated 2,000 people attended his brother’s memorial service.
Quietly, reverently along with 10,000 others, I departed Polk Place. Such a peaceful, silent adjournment of so many from this otherwise vibrant, active space was surreal, but then that which prompted this gathering of the University community was even more surreal.
I am referencing, of course, the poignant responses to the tragic events of Sept. 11. Standing with others, holding hands, listening to the comforting words of our chancellor, our student body president, a campus minister, a professor and others, my mind raced. The tragedies that brought us together and the size of the gathering prompted me to recall a spring 1970 Polk Place vigil in the aftermath of the deaths of four students at Kent State subsequent to the U.S. incursion into Cambodia as the war in Vietnam raged.
Outside Old East I happened upon our older son, and we chatted about his own reactions and thoughts. He had been in touch with a friend and UNC alumnus who works for a U.S. senator; one of his roommates shared reactions from friends in Israel.
In the Alumni Center, the day of the attack we connected with the two alumni tours traveling in Europe, prepared to open our online alumni directory to all alumni, students and others connected to Carolina who visited our Web site (not just GAA members) and began to put together a panel of UNC faculty for a Thursday evening GAA program entitled “Understanding the Attack on America: A Public Forum.” And we waited.
We waited for that which we knew would follow but which we wished our Carolina family could be spared. We waited to learn the names of former Carolina students who perished on Sept. 11. All too soon we learned that two of our graduates died aboard two separate flights, and in the following days we learned that four more Carolina alumni were victims in the World Trade Center.
As we learned their identities, we marveled at the courage of the firefighters, police officers, rescue workers and others in New York and at the Pentagon and of the bravery of passengers aboard United Flight 93 who denied terrorists a fourth target.
That which haunted me in the early hours and days after the attack remains unshakable. Time and again I have flashed back to June 1, 1965. On that bright, Friday afternoon, a cab driver delivered a telegram to my mother at our Fayetteville home. That telegram conveyed the tragic news that my dad had been shot and killed in an ambush near Pleiku, South Vietnam. Later that afternoon, at age 17, I shared this news with the youngest two of my four younger brothers. That single bullet forever changed the lives of my mother and each of her five young sons.
On Sept. 11, all of our lives changed. And while we understandably will continue to search for answers and seek to determine the implications for our country and the world, for now we continue to ache for the sons and daughters, husbands and wives, parents and grandparents who lost family members. Without warning, without a telegram, with the entire world watching, these families received horrific news, which immediately changed their lives forever.
It was not until I accompanied our own sons as they visited other campuses before choosing to come to Carolina that I remembered that my dad was unable to take me on any campus tours. That made these trips very special for me. My dad never met my wife nor his grandchildren. Dad was not around to share in my accomplishments or to console me in my disappointments. And now an estimated 10,000 children are without a parent as a result of the attacks of Sept. 11.
For nearly 20 years I have written this column, and no column has been more difficult to write. I convey these personal reactions because I think each of us is dealing with the events of Sept. 11 on a personal basis.
We should be proud that our Carolina community again came together and continues to provide an environment for the expression of all views and opinions during this national tragedy. This is the Carolina way.
As we mourn the loss of Carolina alumni Karleton Douglas Beye Fyfe ’92, Mary Lou Hague ’96, Andrew Marshall King ’83, Ryan Ashley Kohart ’98, Dora Menchaca ’78 (MSPH) and Christopher Quackenbush ’79, I share the following lines that were sung by the Loreleis, Carolina’s women’s a cappella group, to conclude of the gathering on Polk Place as well as our GAA forum:
I am sitting here wanting memories to teach me, to see the beauty in the world through my own eyes…
You said you’d comfort me in times like these, and now I need you
Now I need you, and you are gone…
Yours at Carolina,
Douglas S. Dibbert ’70
“The tragic events of Tuesday have forever changed the lives of each of us – perhaps in ways we cannot yet know,” he said. “As a university community, we seek answers and understanding. Again, we turn to our Carolina faculty. And we do so not as an academic exercise but with deep compassion for all those who have lost loved ones – including some who are Carolina alumni, their families, friends, neighbors and colleagues. Tonight we come to be together, to learn from each other and to share.”
“When we came together last year, we could not yet know who among our Carolina alumni had been lost,” he said to those assembled in remembrance. “Regrettably, in the days that followed, we learned that we had lost six very special people. They were sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, husbands and wives, neighbors, colleagues, friends.”
Doug ended by invoking music that has often united and comforted the Carolina family.
“Chapel Hill native son James Taylor concludes Carolina in My Mind with these words:
Say nice things about me, carry on without me.
I’m gone, yes, I’m gone.”