by Collin Nash (Newsday) November 6, 2001
Jennieann Maffeo had the heart of a lion and a heart of gold, her family said.
Maffeo, 40, was a tireless volunteer, said her sister, Andrea. A senior associate at Wall Street brokerage firm UBS PaineWebber, Maffeo was always in the loop when it came to company-sponsored charities. She raised funds for juvenile diabetes, her sister said. She spent her lunch hour helping children learn to read, in schools near her offices in Weehawken, N.J. And she led the charge in the drive to collect toys for local children during the holidays.
Maffeo also was the organizer around the office, her sister said. She organized wedding showers. She organized baby showers. And she helped organize the holiday get-togethers. "She was the type of person you can count on," she said.
A senior associate at PaineWebber, Maffeo's daily commute involved taking an express bus from Bensonhurst -- where she lived with her parents, Sam and Frances, and siblings Andrea and Joseph -- to the World Trade Center. From there, she would catch another bus to the ferry for her work commute to Weehawken.
She was waiting for her bus ride to the ferry Sept.11, when the first jetliner slammed into the north tower, dousing her with flaming jet fuel.
With third-degree burns over 90 percent of her body, the doctors' prognosis gave her little more than a day to live. But her days in New York Presbyterian Hospital- Cornell Medical Center turned into weeks. Scores of family and friends kept vigils by her bedside, but she died 41 days after the attack, on Oct. 22. "For someone who had so much love," her sister said, "to die because of so much hate makes it more difficult to deal with."
Maffeo worked at New York University after graduating from Baruch College in 1982. Her sister said Maffeo took care of a fellow worker at NYU who was disabled, helping with his daily routines. It was her sister's nature to give of herself and her time, Andrea Maffeo said. In fact, on the morning of Sept. 11, her sister was pondering the economics of shopping on the Internet or going to a wholesale club after work to pick up art supplies for a company-sponsored fund-raiser, she said.
"She was the type of person who, if she had her last dollar and someone needed it, she would give it to them," she said. "She just had such a giving spirit."