As part of of The 2,996 Project, I’m remembering Damian Meehan, who was 32 when he died in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. The following biography was written by his family.
Growing up in a large family in Manhattan’s Irish Inwood in the 1970’s, gave Damian all the necessary essentials for a very happy childhood. Six older brothers, an older sister and a baby sister set the tone for a perpetual smile and a unique laugh that became a very integral part of his personality. His big brothers, Shaun, Michael, Eugene, Kevin, Chris and Paul, while always creating obstacles and torment in his daily life, grew to love, protect and admire this most gentle of siblings. His sisters Kitty and Janine just adored him from day one.
Damian’s loving nature made his life a very happy experience. He was such a happy kid and people loved being around him. His easygoing personality and perpetual smile endeared him to a wide circle of friends. He attended Good Shepherd grammar school in Inwood and made many close friends there that would stay with him through life. As a child he played in Inwood Hill Park and spent his summers at the Four Green Fields. Both Inwood and the Four Green Fields, played major roles in his early and developing years, that led to friendships that were to last a lifetime.
Damian was so trustworthy, that his parents allowed him to travel by subway to attend Power Memorial High School. Unfortunately, Power closed in 1984, just after Damian’s freshman year, so he decided to finish at St. Raymond’s in the Bronx, where a few of his brothers also attended. Upon graduation, Damian chose SUNY New Paltz for college. Two years later, his Dad convinced him that there was more to learn at home. Damian decided to join his sister Janine at Lehman College, where he was first introduced to Janine’s friend, Joann McCarthy. It was definitely love at first sight – and the rest is history. While in college, Damian worked at the Columbia Tennis Center in Inwood, along with various bartending jobs throughout the city. In August of 1993, Damian decided to try Wall Street and it was his brother-in-law, Marty Boyle, that introduced him to the wild world of finance. He worked for Dean Witter, which later became Carr Futures, and he came under the guidance and counsel of Brendan Dolan and they became fast friends for the rest of their lives.
On June 6, 1998 , at the age 29, Damian married the love of his life, Joann McCarthy at Mount St. Ursula Church. They were just a perfect couple; so much love, devotion and respect that was obvious to all. They settled in Riverdale. The following year they bought a house in Glen Rock, NJ near their friends Brendan and Stacey Dolan, and Kathy and Joe Holland.
On January 23, 2000, Damian Peter, Jr. was born – the arrival of Damian, Jr. could not have been more perfect. It was a great time in Damian’s life. He loved being a father and cherished every minute spent with his son. He was so proud of little Damian and always boasted about his accomplishments. They had their own rituals. Every night, little Damian would stand on the couch and watch out the window for his “gogga-gogga” to come home from work, and if Damian got home after little Damian’s bedtime, his Dad would immediately go into his room and stand over his crib and talk to him while he slept. It was an unbelievable bond.
Damian was a gifted athlete. Gaelic football was a big part of his life from a very young age; he won every under-age medal with Good Shepherd as a full back and continued at Junior and Senior grades with additional success. When Good Shepherd could no longer field a full team, Damian went to play for Donegal, along with Dave Mc Sweeney, another former Good Shepherd player. Those were great years for Damian, as he took immense pride in the fact that he was playing for his parent’s native county team. He trained really hard and thoroughly enjoyed playing at this top level at Gaelic Park and internationally as part of the New York panel.
Damian also enjoyed running, even more so in the last few years, when he began competing in races with his brothers and sister, Kitty. Damian was an excellent runner, his siblings watched in awe, as he ran the toughest hills effortlessly, and always managed to have the fastest time. Damian also enjoyed golfing and did so quite often with his brothers, extended family and childhood friends from Inwood, Chris Lee and Donn McNamee.
Most of all, Damian was a “family-man”, in every sense of the word. He loved going up to the Four Green Fields because it meant spending time with family and close friends and sharing many laughs. He loved playing Bingo and the card games that followed in the dance hall into the wee hours of the morning. He looked forward to participating in the basketball tournament every July 4th and Labor Day weekend. Last Labor Day weekend, Damian spent quality time with his family and friends at the Four Green Fields, and had a great weekend. Everything was perfect. Damian was always making plans for next month and for the next five years. Life was so good: health, happiness and a secure future. Little did we know that we were all enjoying the very best time of our lives. A week later, came the devastation of September 11th, leaving such so much pain, anguish, devastation and heartache that will never heal. Life will never be the same again.
In the early hours of October 2nd, Damian’s brothers Michael, Eugene and Kevin brought us the tragic-yet joyful news that Damian had been recovered on Monday, October 1st with a bunch of firemen and civilians on West Street. The news was so final – we had lost our beloved Damian forever. Damian’s wake at William’s Funeral Home was an incredible scene, as thousands came to say goodbye to our Damian, and yet again at Good Shepherd Church on October 8th, as Father Kevin Devine led us all in a final farewell to one of the most beautiful human beings ever created. Damian now rests in peace at St. Anastasia Cemetery in Harriman, New York.
On January 13th 2002, Damian and Joann’s little daughter, Madison Margaret was born and it was finally a day to rejoice. Damian Jr. is delighted with his baby sister.
We will never forget Damian and we will all make sure that his children know the type of man their father was. For all of us, our Damian was truly one of a kind.
Rest in peace, Damian. You are not forgotten.
Please visit The Damian Meehan Memorial Fund and consider making a donation to their scholarship program.