In Memory of Carole Beth Eggert
This entry is part of the 2,996 Project, in honor of those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on 9-11-01.
The email I received when I signed up for the project was cut and dry:
60, of New York, N.Y.
At World Trade Center
I read through a few of the tributes from her co-workers and friends, and then put the task aside for a later date. When I began to write this entry, I began to read again. This time, I wept. I wish I could have found a photo of Carole. From all accounts, she was a wonderful woman, and is sorely missed by those who knew and loved her.
Carole Beth Eggert was a lifelong resident of Sunnyside, Staten Island. After her graduation from Curtis High School, Carole began her 40-year career at Marsh & McLennan in 1959. Shortly thereafter, she met Lise Aanonsen, who became a lifelong friend to the Eggert family, and like a sister to Carole.
Carole was a parishioner of Trinity Lutheran Church, Stapleton, where she was baptized and faithfully attended the early Sunday service. She was an only child, and as her parents aged, she took on the role of companion and caregiver.
The Staten Island Advance published a moving tribute to Carole Eggert.
Known as an excellent and dedicated employee, Miss Eggert was also admired for her consideration of family and friends. "She was always at work an hour before she needed to be. And she called her mother three times a day. She took care of everything for her after her father died," recalled Mrs. Aanonsen.
She remembered friends on their birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. Mrs. Aanonsen's children had received cards and gifts from her since they were babies. "They would always say 'Aunt Carole never forgets,' " said Mrs. Aanonsen.
There are cards on top of the television set at the home she shared with her mother, Gertrude. One card is the greeting she sent her mother on her 89th birthday. The others are cards of support to her mother, who is struggling with her daughter's absence.
"Ever since high school," said Mrs. Eggert, "people have been saying, 'You should be proud of your daughter.' "
The two were inseparable, eating dinner together every night, going shopping, doing all the usual things side-by-side, she said.
While in her 40s, Miss Eggert went to night classes at the College of Staten Island and earned a degree in accounting and worked her way up to become a VP Manager in the Accounting Department of Marsh & McClennan.
An avid reader, Miss Eggert was also a traveler. The sole driver among her two traveling companions, she chauffeured trips to Florida, Colorado, New Mexico and to different national parks. She stopped traveling to take care of her ailing father, Herman, who died in 1998.
I smiled at the description of Carole, driving her companions around the country. I'm sure it was far from Thelma and Louise, but the thought made me grin.
Carol's friend Regina Motreuil sheds more light on Carole's personality:
She was a good friend who was well loved by our family and all of her friends and co-workers. We will always miss her lighthearted phrases like "So how ya doin'?" or "Oh, get outta here!" in her classic New Yorker accent. Carole was always there for you if you needed her help.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, Carole Beth Eggert was in her office on the 98th floor of Tower 1. At 8:46 am, Flight 11 crashed into Tower 1, ripping a gaping hole and igniting an inferno. The 93rd to 101st floors were affected by the plane's impact. We can't know if Carole lost her life in those first, terrifying minutes, or if she survived until the tower collapsed at 10:28 am. Her company lost 295 employees in those 101 minutes.
Back at home, Carole's 90-year-old mother, Gertrude, waited to hear if her daughter had survived. A year later, Gertrude spoke about her loss in The Lutheran:
Without her faith, Gertrude Eggert, 90, might find it easy to be mad at God for the Sept. 11 death of her only daughter, Carol, who was her sole caregiver.
Carol's death left Gertrude all alone. The 60-year-old insurance executive worked on the 98th floor of the
World Trade Center and lived with her mom. "I pray at night and ask, 'Why me?' " Eggert says from her Staten Island, N.Y., home. But she shakes her head when asked if she's angry with God. Instead, she is thankful for the gift of a caring daughter. "I thank God for being good to my Carol," Eggert says. "I see her face everywhere."
Eggert, a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Staten Island, keeps Carol's photo nearby, often laying it beside her pillow in bed. "We were like two pals," she says. "We did everything together — shopping, cooking, having fun. I'm lost without her. She did everything for me."
But Eggert is holding up incredibly well, says her pastor, Richard Michael. While Eggert is in excellent health, she gets help from Michael in managing finances and making living arrangements. Michael also helped to get an urn of ashes from the ground zero site, which Eggert buried alongside her husband. "She's with her daddy now," Eggert says.
Eggert and Michael are planning graveside prayers this Sept. 11.
Carole's mom passed away a year ago, at the age of 93. At last, the Eggert family is reunited.
Rest in peace, Carole. We remember you.