(Reprinted from 2006.)
Laura Gilly, age 32, blonde, technical support at Cantor, was killed in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
That’s the most common information available about her on the net. But that is not the sum of Laura Gilly. It isn’t even a very big part.
Steven Kretytak of Newsday wrote:
Raised in Bensonhurst, [a section of Brooklyn, New York City, ed.] Gilly was a cheerleader at Lafayette High School and always had “an effervescent personality,” her mother said. She went to Kingsborough Community College for two years before joining Tower Airlines, which is now defunct.
“She saw places you could never even think of,” her mother said.
Gilly spent nine years traveling to far-flung destinations such as Kuwait, Russia and Thailand. One of her favorite places was Israel, where she could lie on the beach, Fribourg said.
At one point, Gilly lived in Jakarta, Indonesia, for three months to work strictly on flights ferrying Muslims there on a holy pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Gilly lived in Bay Ridge with her two cats. She often went out with the young staff at Cantor, usually on Thursday nights and often to Windows on the World, the restaurant on the 107th floor of Tower One.
And she always relished her times at the shore. There, Gilly would always cap a day in the sun with a night at the bars and clubs. Gilly and her two good friends – Fribourg and Danielle Hoffman – knew everybody, and rarely had to pay for anything, especially at Jenkinson’s, their favorite nightclub, they said.
Hoffman said she calls on Gilly’s constant optimism and happiness to get past some of the sadness of losing her.
“She had such a positive outlook. If you were worried about something stupid, she’d say, ‘Just get over it.'” Hoffman said. “She’d say, ‘I have a choice to be happy or not, and I am going to choose to be happy.'”
Laura Gilly had family who cared for her.
Her mother loved her and spoke of her to the NYTimes.
“She wanted a 9-to-5, so she could make plans without breaking them,” said Phyllis Gilly, her mother. “So many times she wasn’t home for Christmas or New Year’s. She was really looking forward to stability.”
And 16 months ago, she found it in a job working in technical support for Cantor Fitzgerald. Life was finally sweet and somewhat predictable, and Ms. Gilly, 32, was enjoying every minute of it, her mother said, recalling a phone conversation she had with her daughter weeks before Sept. 11.
The joy Mrs. Gilly heard in her daughter’s voice has made it all the more difficult accepting the irony of her death. “We spent so much time worrying about her flying here and there, and to have her go like this: killed by a plane as she sat in an office building. All she wanted was a real job at a desk in a building.”
She had an older brother who loved her and wrote her poetry.
A cousin spoke of her in Riverside.
David Wurtzel said his first cousin, once removed 32-year-old Laura Gilly, had been excited by getting out of the airline business â€“ flying with Tower Airlines â€“ in July and landing a job high above New Yorkâ€™s financial district.
It was â€“ and is â€“ a close-knit family centered in Brooklyn. â€œWe always kept in touch. â€œ(Laura) lived in an apartment two floors above her momâ€™s.â€ Mom is Wurtzelâ€™s first cousin….
Laura Gilly had friends who miss her.
Laura was a beautiful, bubbly, fun to be around, as well as warm and whole hearted person. … She was the type of person that you did not have to see or talk to , just knowing that when you did, it would feel like it was only yesterday that you had spoken to each other.
I miss you every day. …I have a son now and I wish everyday you were here to see him. I talk to him about Aunt Laura all the time. … just know how much I always valued our special friendship. There is a place in my heart just for you. I will love you and miss you forvever. Rest in peace precious girl and know that I am raising my chocolate martini to you in heaven.
Laura was the most caring and giving person I know. … If I could see her one last time, I would thank her for being such a good friend, and for helping me through a hard time.
Laura Gilly was and will always be a beautiful gift to this world. Her smile would light up the darkest room and her laugh would bring a smile to all in that room.
Former Tower Air flight attendant Phyllis Fribourg has heart-shaped piece of blue skirt that belonged to her best friend, Laura Gilly, sewn into bodice of her wedding dress; Gilly, flight attendant who later took desk job at Cantor Fitzgerald, died in attack on World Trade Center.
Laura was an absolute angel from the very beggining! I cherish every memory I have of her!
Laura Gilly had coworkers who remember her fondly.
I trained with Laura at Tower Air and flew with her all over the world for years. What a joy she was and she is deeply missed.
She was very funny. There was an ease about her. It was easy to be her friend and it was easy to talk to her. With laura what you saw is what you got and that was my favorite thing about her. I wish everyone could have known her. I’m happy i did.
I worked/flew with Laura at Tower Air years ago. … Laura was a joyful spirit and probably still is. I think of her often over the years (4 years later, I know). I am sure she’s missed by tons more that were closer to her. It is a pleaure to have known her.
It seems like yesterday we were flying together & getting extented somewhere “Awful” like Paris or Rome. Shopping in Okinawa for the best deals & hanging out on the US base somewhere out there. I miss your smile but carry it in my head & heart at all times. I sometimes still think you are going to call & catch up on old times.
I flew with Laura at Tower Air. There were always good layovers with her on your crew.
Those memories make it like it was yesterday.
And Lisa S.
Tower Air was great because of friends like Laura Gilly. I will never forget her.
I never saw Laura without a smile on her face. I have read the thoughts of those who knew her also, so I know she truly was happy in her life. This was in part due to her nature and,I’m sure, due to her family. She was surely blessed to have had such a loving family. … I sat 2 seats from here in our last Tower recurrent and that still remains with me. I can still picture her laughing there…….She must have been born with a smile on her face!!!! … She will not be forgotten.
No matter what they threw at us, she just found a way to have a good time. No matter how long the duty day or what far out place in the world we were sent.
I remember your bright smile on your face, your strength, your compassion for life and for whoever had a chance to know you.
Laura Gilly had old schoolmates who heard of her loss and grieved.
You will always be remembered, I went to JR High School with you and just to know that one of my school mates went through that horror, breaks my heart. You are an Angel and will be in our herats forever.
In H.S. I remember Laura always laughing and having a good time, just hanging out with friends. I haven’t seen Laura since H.S. but I will always remember what a kind person she was. She will be missed.
One person remembered.