Frances Ann Cilente Remembered
After graduating from Berkeley College with a degree in business, she strode confidently into the world of high finance. Fran worked on the 105th. floor of World Trade Center One as an executive administrator for Joseph Shea, Cantor Fitzgerald Executive Managing Director, and Jonathan Uman, head of corporate development at eSpeed, Inc., a subsidiary of Cantor Fitzgerald. Jonathan Uman was particularly fond of Fran, and she became close with both he and his wife.
Fran excelled in her profession, made possible by her people skills, enthusiasm and zeal for learning. Prior to her work at Cantor Fitzgerald, Fran was a medical assistant, but lost the job to lay-offs. Fran loved to help people, and that is why she was saving money to enroll in a nursing program.
Fran’s Aunt Judith worked across the street from the WTC. She and her godchild would take work breaks and meet in the Tall Ships Bar and Grille. The bartender would have Frannie’s Diet Coke waiting as “Sunshine” rushed into the establishment. Fran certainly lived up to the “Sunshine” appellation because she always had a smile upon her face.
Theresa described Fran as not only her sister, but her best friend. They spent many hours together shopping, going to Mass, or traveling to exotic beach locals such as the Cancun, the Bahamas or other Caribbean islands where Fran loved to sunbathe.
Generous to a fault; here’s a story told to me by Danielle, and it is representative of Fran’s character. Danielle stated that she was in need of some business attire during an unfortunate time of her life. Danielle and Fran rode the Staten Island Ferry together and did not really know each other all that well. Nevertheless, Fran didn’t hesitate to loan Danielle some business suits. What you have to understand is that Fran loved good, fashionable clothes and shoes. Fran was “born to shop,” and so you know that the loaned suits were fashionable items.
Fran utilized her skills with ceramics and other crafts to make holiday decorations for her and others. I’d be willing to bet that there are many other such stories about Fran and her generosity.
I’m told that Fran loved animals, especially her cat, “Kitty.” And, so trips to the zoo were fun. A couple of weeks prior to her passing, Fran took boyfriend Daniel McCurdy to the Bronx Zoo for a six hour tour.
Like many women her age, Fran was beginning to think about getting married and starting a family. While she and Daniel had not yet seriously discussed marriage, they frequently met for coffee at Starbucks. Though Fran and Daniel’s coffee liaisons were not generally known, it appears that their relationship was developing. Daniel said this:
"We spoke about marriage here and there but we never sat down and talked about it," Mr. McCurdy said. "I would have married her. That's where this was going to lead up to."Laura rode the Staten Island Ferry to and from work with Danielle and Fran. During the trip they often snacked on Now and Later candy. Laura says that she can not now eat a Now and Later without thinking of Fran. Sometimes it is those little things that become treasured memory triggers.
Many people have written nice things about Fran. I found the words of a stranger intriguing. Here’s a little of what Paula Roderick, Lt Col, USAF (ret), had to say:
A year ago today, like the rest of the nation, I was watching the horrific aftermath of the events of 9-11-01 on television. The reporter was doing on piece on the tens of thousands of family members and friends who were desperately searching for their lost loved ones. I remember a young woman (your sister, Theresa?) was holding up a poster with your picture and a phone number. She was interviewed for just a moment before the camera went on to the next face. I'm still not sure exactly why, but your face touched my heart so deeply I felt compelled to write down your name and to contact your family. I wanted them to know that they were not alone. That people all over the country were aware you were missing and we were praying for you.
So Fran, while we never met, I'm so glad I saw your photo that day. Your life was full and meaningful; filled with a loving family, strong personal relationships, rich experiences, and big dreams. You are loved by so many who remain devoted to your memory. Your life and the way you lived it did make a difference. You will not be forgotten.It is obvious that Fran touched the hearts of many, and they love her. Her passing left a void that is filled with pain and loving memories. The positive impact that Fran had on others is a testimony to a life well lived. That’s about the best that we can ask for in life, and it is not measured in the number of years spent on this earth.
Rest in peace Fran. You did well.
Update 1: This blog is just one of the tributes to the victims of 9/11 as part of the 2996 Project. Go here for a link to the project.
Update 2: The original 2996 Project exceeded its bandwidth and shut down. Here is a mirror site.