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Thomas Mahon
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Thomas Anthony Mahon

'Daddy in Heaven' Is a Familiar RefrainNov. 27, 2001

Thomas Mahon loved children, dogs and New York City. But those three things didn’t fit in the one-bedroom apartment he and his wife, Beth, shared on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

When their daughter, Shay, came along in 1999, the Mahons moved out of the city and onto a tree-lined street on Long Island’s north shore where Tom grew up. The move meant a wearisome commute for Mahon, who lumbered into work at Cantor Fitzgerald an hour and 10 minutes late on Sept. 10, but was punctual on the 11th.

On work days, he would wind down on the train trip home to be ready for a ride on his mountain bike with 1-year-old Shay. When Mahon’s car pulled into the driveway, Finn, their Irish water spaniel, would hear it first and start running. Across the deck and up on hind legs, Finn would plant kisses on Mahon as Shay toddled behind.

Beth has etched that scene in her mind and replayed it to Shay, who interjects the words “Daddy in heaven” every time she hears her father’s name.

Fatherhood came later to Mahon, 37, than it did to many of his friends, but quite naturally. Beth knew from watching him interact with their friends’ children that he would make a good father. That’s what attracted her to him at their second meeting, which came three years after a blind date between them didn’t work out.

The reunion left no doubts in Beth’s mind. She had her wedding dress before Mahon even proposed -— on bended knee in Central Park.

“We just never grew tired of each other,” she said.

That’s what made it impossible for Beth to accept her husband’s death in the days after the attacks.

She found closure in a canceled check a firefighter found amid the rubble and gave to her on Sept. 16. The check was made out to her in 1996 and signed by her husband.

“Everyone wants a sign,” she said. “I think that was his way of telling me that he’s in a better place and that he’s OK.”

— Christine Schiavo (The Morning Call)

Submitted by: Niall Keogan (Friend)

Other links: http://www.newsday.com/news/ny-victimsdatabase.framedurl
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