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Long Island remembers

AnnMarie Riccoboni

  • Age: 58
  • Employer: Ohrenstein & Brown
  • Place of death: Tower One
  • Community: Astoria
  • County: Queens

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About AnnMarie Riccoboni

AnnMarie Riccoboni, 58, of Astoria was billings supervisor at Ohrenstein & Brown on the 85th floor of the north tower. Her remains were recovered within six months.

Sept. 11 was AnnMarie Riccoboni's birthday, and her family tried to talk her into skipping work that day. But Riccoboni wouldn't hear of it.

"She loved her job," said her daughter, Maria-Elena Santorelli of Wantagh.

And she loved working in the Twin Towers. After she went to work there shortly after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, people would ask her if she was worried, Santorelli said. But she would tell them, "I stop every day at the church and say a prayer. Whatever happens, happens."

Deeply religious - she had once contemplated being a nun - Riccoboni was a "person just happy to do the simple things," her daughter said. That included feeding her grandchildren, Victoria and Anthony, then 7 and 4, breakfast many mornings while her daughter raced off to work.

Or coming out to Wantagh on weekends with her husband, John - whom she had known since she was 13 - to spend time with Santorelli and her other daughter, Janine Passelis of Astoria.

Taking care of others came first, Santorelli said. When Riccoboni learned she had breast cancer days before Mother's Day, she held off telling her family until after the holiday had passed. In May 2001, she and her daughters completed a breast cancer walk to celebrate being cancer-free a year.

Despite Riccoboni's absence, some good things have come since 9/11, her daughter said. Santorelli's children became involved with groups to help children who lost a loved one on 9/11. Each year they have attended Camp Haze in upstate Monticello, sponsored by the Scott Hazelcorn Children's Foundation.

And Passelis' children, Demetri, 6, and Marco, 5, who never knew their grandmother but speak of her often, are involved with Tuesday's Children, which provides programs for children impacted by 9/11.

"That," Santorelli said, speaking of her mother, "is what she would have wanted." - Ridgely Ochs