On September 11, 2001, Brian E. Martineau was 37 years old.
Mr. Martineau was born in Edison, New Jersey, the birthplace of recorded sound. He had at least one sibling, his sister Tara. He attended Benjamin Franklin Elementary School. (I still don’t know his middle school, but Telecaster7 says that he went to J.P. Stevens High School with him; they were both in the Class of 1982.) He got his degree from Rutgers in 1988, and married his wife Bettyann on October 20, 1991. His daughter came along a couple of years later; his son, four years after that.
He was Catholic (or at least he had a Catholic funeral). So he was a member of the Body of Christ.
In high school, he’d had a band named Grand Messenger. As an adult, he had a collection of 5000 CDs. He loved classic rock, especially underground English bands. But he would put Britney Spears on the stereo whenever his daughter asked him.
He was fun-loving and genial. He liked to host parties, and he liked to cook.
But he was not one to conceal his opinions. From a high school friend:
I think I’ll always remember Brian for his very open opinions, speaking his mind, and most of all for his wonderful friendship. He was an excellent listener, and whether you wanted to hear it or not, he would open your eyes to the raw truth.
His field was insurance. He worked at Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield for a while. Here’s a quote from a client:
Precious few people have ever made such a strong, lasting impression on me. Brian’s competence in his trade, combined with his warm, jovial demeanor, truly made him special. I often told the account managers at Horizon that, if I ever need to get something done, I’m calling Brian. Brian was a “yes, we can do that” kind of guy, and he could.
And from a colleague:
I worked with Brian for years at Blue Cross. It is so true — there was never a day he wasn’t laughing or joking about something. What positive energy he had! I remember when I was promoted to Director — Brian was one of the first to congratulate me. He was just that kind of guy. He was sweet and he was gentle. And he loved life and his family.
From another old colleague:
I miss our calls and e-mails and the “only being cynical” attitude we had…
Can’t help remember all of the times the old “National” gang took road trips for lunch and you give your precise instructions.
You were one of the nicest “bosses” and friends I had.
Brian Martineau then came to work for Aon as a benefits consultant. This job was one in which people depended on him for prompt answers and help, and he did his best to do that. From a long distance colleague:
I worked with Brian for just a short time on our employee account. He gave this Nebraska farm girl a tough time and thought it would be great fun to get me to “the city”. During an illness that took me away from my office, Brian kept in touch with me by phone and his first questions were always about how “Miss Jill” was. I… am forever grateful to God that I had the pleasure of knowing him. It didn’t take long for Brian to make you a friend.
From another long distance colleague:
I miss our daily conversations (several times a day) on the large account we both shared. Although I never met you, I felt like I knew you forever. You always put a smile on my face and the laughter we shared was wonderful.
And from a colleague who also worked at Aon:
….his jokes, bluntness, and “get what he wants” attitude. Brian was literally “a meat and potatoes” kind of guy – we would go out to lunch and if anything looked “strange” to him – he would not touch it. I remember the last time we all went to lunch; it was right before his vacation in August with his family to the shore in NJ. He gave the waitress an extra hard time (humorously though) so we left her an extra tip… Thank you, Brian, for teaching me all that you did about employee benefits in the short time you were at Aon. You are a great person: funny, serious, bold, admirable, great underwriter, great daddy and husband.
Working at the World Trade Center on the 101st floor of the South Tower entailed working in and commuting to New York, which was a first for him. But he still got home before his wife, and so he cooked dinner for her.
Before he went to bed at night, he would always kiss his two children, even though they were asleep and didn’t know.
After a plane hit the North Tower, he called his wife to tell her he was leaving.
Sources used for this memorial article were many, but all are widely available on the Internet. The best source are his memorials in Newsday and the New York Times (published October 13, 2001) which was written from interviews with his family. There were also many condolence registers on the Web which provided me with information, but Legacy.com provided me with the most information. For more information, you may wish to visit a tribute by one of his wife’s friends. It includes several pictures and a song.
I hope that Mr. Martineau’s family and friends do not regard this writeup as intrusive; it was not intended to be. At college, I worked in an archive, and it was part of my job to create a portrait of a person from their papers. Here, all I had were other people’s reminiscences. I regarded this task as part of our duty to honor and remember our fallen, which is what the 2996 Project is about.
From what I’ve learned, I wish I could have met him.
I will finish with this:
I will never know
The man behind your name.
But I know this:
You had a wife to kiss
And children, and you came
Home every night
Far from the light
Of that city of towers,
And made the meal.
No death can steal
Those ordinary hours.
All our days are numbered.
But you spent yours well,
Music, wisecracks, laughter —
So your friends all tell.
I am sure you faltered,
Sinned a time or two.
But pray for me, Brian Martineau,
And I will pray for you.
I will never know
The man behind your name.
But I know this:
That you are missed —
And that’s worth more than fame.
(This post is part of The 2,996 Project, honoring individually every victim of September 11th. I will not post anything more until September 12th.)