BILL'S PAGE


Bill Sugra Memorial Fund

   ABOUT BILL SUGRA

A network administrator in Cantor Fitzgerald’s eSpeed division, Bill Sugra worked on the 103rd floor of the World Trade Center. On September 11, 2001, just 36 days after celebrating his 30th birthday with his family and his girlfriend, Bill lost his life due to the horrifically callous acts of terrorists.

A vibrant, loving young man, Bill lived life to the fullest, enhancing the lives of everyone he met. While rising through the ranks of St. Thomas More Elementary School, Allentown Central Catholic High School and the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), Bill grew into a wonderful man. Through the years, he played a variety of organized sports, ranging from baseball to cross-country to golf.

After graduating from IUP with a bachelor’s degree in finance in 1993, Bill worked at Productivity Point, Inc. (PPI), in Allentown. In 1999, when the opportunity to work for Cantor Firzgerald in New York City arose, Bill jumped at the chance. In October 2000, he began working for Cantor Fitzgerald.

Well-cultured and blessed with a wide base of interests, Bill loved the Big Apple. Residing in South Seaport, just eight blocks from his office at the World Trade Center, he took advantage of every free moment he had. When not building upon his reputation as an industrious, hard-working, valuable cog of the Cantor Fitzgerald team, he always kept busy. Whether taking in a Broadway play, running through Central Park, visiting a museum or just hanging out with friends at a nightclub, he rarely let a moment go to waste.

While in New York, Bill shared much of his life with his girlfriend, Suzanne Dinnie. Having known each other since their days together at St. Thomas More, Bill and Suzanne worked together at PPI. But it wasn’t until they both relocated to Manhattan (she moved to the Upper Eastside a month before he took up residence in South Seaport) that sparks began to fly between them. Like so many others before them, they fell in love in New York City.

Bill’s friends knew they could count on him, in good times and in bad. And just as it was with his friends, but on an even deeper level, he held a special bond with his parents, Bill and El, and his sister, Tracy. If a friend or family member needed anything, whether it was a shoulder to cry on, a buddy to laugh with, or someone to give them advice, he was always there for them. A person of strong moral fiber that tried to do the right thing at all times, Bill made people feel at ease in his presence. A jovial soul, he seemingly always had a smile on his face.

Bill Sugra’s gentle, generous spirit lives on through the Bill Sugra Memorial Fund, whose philanthropic activities are targeted toward encouraging, supporting and assisting the needy and disadvantaged through their time of difficulty. As Bill did throughout his life, the Fund strives to improve the lives of those less fortunate than most.


   BILL SUGRA MEMORIES

By Jen Normand

It was a dark and snowy night… when Bill offered to drive me home from a youth group event. He asked me if I wanted to see him practice spinning donuts in the snow. This sounded fun to me, so I agreed. He drove me behind STM to the empty snowy parking lot and he raced down the length of the parking lot, slammed the brakes, and we spun in circles. He did that maybe three or four times before taking me home. What a thrill that night was! Of course we had no thoughts of mortality at that time in our lives. We were so young and carefree in those days.

Bill was one a year ahead of me in school and while I knew who Bill was in grade school, I didn’t really get to know him and become friends with him until we were both members of the STM Teen Council in high school. My memories of Bill really begin there.

One year in youth group, I was in charge of organizing the LARC (Lehigh Area Retarded Citizens) dance that the teen group sponsored each year. As you might imagine, this was not an event that easily attracted teen volunteers, but it was my responsibility to make sure there were enough teens to staff the dance. When I asked Bill if he would be willing to help me organize it, he didn’t hesitate in saying yes. He volunteered to be in charge of playing all the music and aside from insisting that “Open Arms” was Journey’s best song (it’s really “Separate Ways” as I insisted), he did a fantastic job and all the teens and more importantly, the guests, had a fantastic night of dancing.

I have other fond memories of Bill throughout high school. At one point, I developed a crush on Bill. I would plan to walk past Bill’s locker when I knew he would be there, I would manipulate it so I would be behind him in the line for the drink machine at lunch so I could talk to him, I would make up youth group excuses to call him at night. Once, he asked me to dance with him for a slow song at a Central Catholic dance and I got all excited that maybe he liked me back. But nothing more ever happened after that one dance. After a couple months of “like-liking” him, I decided he wasn’t interested and my crush ended, but not my fondness for him as a friend.

After Bill’s high school graduation party in 1989, my contact with him was sporadic. I saw him a year later when he attended my graduation party. I saw him again a year after that when a friend of mine and I made a trip to IUP for a visit. After the IUP trip in 1991, I really didn’t see or talk to him much until August of 1996 when I moved in with him and his parents for four months (Tracy was living at college at the time).

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   MEMORIES

By Tracy Sugra

As I sat down to write this story about my brother, I really struggled with what I wanted to say. Many of you know Bill’s story - how he got to New York City, where he worked, and how much he loved to live in the city. I thought about my relationship with my brother and how I wanted you to know not just what he did, but who he was.

Since Bill’s death, many people have told me how my brother and his quiet and kind demeanor touched their lives. This has inspired and amazed me. I wanted to share, though, some of my personal and fond memories about my brother. Some are as shining as the stories I’ve heard from so many people and some are the kind only a sibling can tell and appreciate.

The first thing I remember about Bill was his laugh and how it always made me feel so good that I could make him laugh by telling some silly story. I remember how he always ate his fries before his hamburger. I remember his 7th birthday and how he trapped me into his new tent, tied the strings from the outside, and let a coffee can full of live butterflies free to swarm around my head. Bill was the person that taught me to ride a bike. He said he would hold onto the back of the bike so I wouldn’t fall, but when I turned around 30 seconds later, he was still standing in the driveway and I was riding on my own.

I remember when I was in kindergarten and we went to different schools. My bus always came to pick me up first, but on the day it didn’t he took me to school with him so I wouldn’t be left alone at the bus stop.

I remember that he was there on my 21st birthday to escort me around Pitt and enjoy that monumental time in someone’s life. It never bothered him to spend time with my friends and I, and even though we were little high school girls, he invited us to his university, IUP. He took us out on the town without embarrassment, always proud of his sister and her friends.

Bill always wrote a message in my birthday cards and would sign them “Love, Bill”. After Bill’s death, I told my mother I wished I could hear from Bill. Later that day, she was in the attic looking for pictures of Bill and stumbled across a notebook that was empty, except for one page. On that page was a letter he wrote, but never gave to me. In part it read:

Dear Tracy,

Whether you think so or not you have meant a great deal to me. I enjoy your friendship. You are one of a kind! Tracy, remember that thinking of you always makes me feel better. The only reason I am telling you this is so I can return some of the good feelings you have brought to me back to you.

Love your smile,

Bill

He did all of these wonderful things for me even after he told my mom, right after I was born, to put me back where I came from. I never really realized how close a bond and relationship we actually had and how much he really did care for me.

These are the fond memories that only a sibling can have. Now that I have lost these experiences, I sometimes feel I have no one to casually remember old stories with or to reminisce, “remember when you did…?” So as I struggled to convey to you my special memories of Bill, I decided to share some of the best times so that maybe you can join in that chuckle that would have been Bill’s and understand my brother a little more. Through these memories, I also realized I could provide a glimpse into his spirit. This spirit makes the memorial fund a reality and a dream come true to all the people we can help in our community.

When I think of all the generosity, compassion, and love that have gone in to making this foundation a reality, I sometimes look up to the sky and can only imagine what Bill is saying. This would be beyond his wildest dreams.

We found a favorite quote of Bill’s in a journal that he never shared with any of us. It seems so appropriate and should be something that we should strive to think of every day of our lives. “The impact that you make on this earth will be measured by how you are remembered after you are gone.” While it’s my hope these stories about Bill will help you get to know a little better the person he was, the generosity and effort you all put forth for the memorial fund have also taught me about a side of Bill.

William C. Sugra tragically died in the terrorists attacks of September 11th and his family has created a memorial fund whose mission is to help the needy and disadvantaged in their time of need. We wanted Billy’s spirit to live on forever, doing good work for other people.


    MEMORIES FROM TED,
    WINTER 2008

Ted Panebianco

Memories of a friend When I sat down to begin writing this I did not know where to start. There were many good times one in particular was watching him bounce my daughter around on his knees when she was just a few years old. With so many memories I have decided to write about how Bill and I met and share a little information on why Bill moved to NYC. Throughout the day there are often many events which rekindle the memory of Bill. I met Bill around 1996 while working at Productivity Point International where we worked in different departments of the business. The friendship started over a common interest outside of work, sports. We were able to draft Bill into our Sunday morning flag football games and summer pickup basketball games. The comradery in sports spilled over into a friendship that extended through the entire family. As time progressed Bill’s interest in Information System began to grow and when the opportunity opened he began working with me supporting the Information Systems for Productivity Point. We were responsible for supporting training centers and corporate needs throughout the Northeast; the job often required us to work weekends and late into the night. His even temperament and desire to exceed the client’s expectations where key in building a successful business and made working with him a pleasure. There was a point in time we began spending a lot of time supporting the PPI office in Manhattan. During this period he became the key point in coordinating training efforts and supporting the office staff. The dates slip my mind but we had a need for a lead technical person in NYC and we wanted Bill to take to job. He was very interested in this position but was concerned if he would be able to properly manage the location. We knew he had the skills to do the job and with some coercion and the assistance of some Yuengling Lager he agreed. Needless to say he accelerated and had no problems adjusting to the new challenges. Unfortunately all good things come to an end and as business conditions changed it was time for us to plan the next phase of our career paths. Although our working relationship ended we still remained friends and enjoyed a few good games of football, some Eagles vs. Cowboys conversation and cook outs. The memories of the morning of 9/11 are still clear in my head; I was at the temporary trailers in the parking lot of Lucent reviewing a project when someone from the help desk came in to tell us that one of the Trade Center Towers was just hit. My thoughts immediately were focused on Bill and wondering where he was, what was he doing and hoping that he was not on site. As we gathered around the TV we witnessed the second attack and my mind drew a picture of him standing in front of a wiring rack making some changes and unaware of what just happened. I could only hope that if he was inside he did not have to suffer like so many others.

Fortunately the memories of the many hours we spent together have not faded. The worst image I have is when I replay me attempting to cover him while Dave would through that long post or corner pass; he could always outreach me for that ball. We are all blessed to have had the opportunity to know such a fine person and we will all continue to hold those precious moments close to our hearts.

During the memorial service I noticed the reaction on my daughters and saw the effect that this wonderful person had on the lives he touched. I think I can speak for my family when I say we all miss you very much. PS: One day I will get you on that corner route.


BILL SUGRA MEMORIES continued...

During these four months, Bill and I had a chance to rekindle the friendship we always had. Occasionally we would go out for a bite to eat after we both got home from work and talk about our day. He was at Productivity Point International at the time and I was working for AD Computer, a payroll company. Sometimes if his parents weren’t home for dinner he would cook something for dinner and share it with me, and vice versa. I remember one time Bill and El were out of town for the weekend and I was cooking something. He stood in the kitchen talking to me for a bit and started asking me about how I was making the meal, what ingredients I was using and how I was preparing it. The way he asked the questions and the sincerity in wanting to know the answer reminded me so much of his father. For a moment I thought Bill Sr. had stepped into his body and was speaking through him. I really meant it as a compliment when I told him he sounded just like his dad in that moment.

Not too long after he moved to New York, I was invited to go along for a day’s visit to see Bill with his parents and family friends. We had such a fun day! Bill was so excited to show us his apartment, Southside Seaport, where he worked, the Staten Island Ferry, and the local bar across the street from his place. It was evident that Bill just loved the adventure of living in New York and experiencing everything it had to offer.

I will never forget where I was on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 and the concern I felt for Bill and his family. The days that ensued brought out the true devastation of that day and the horrific tragedy that ended so many brilliant lives. But out of the darkness, I truly believe that Bill has been watching out for all of his loved ones and has helped to bring about so many wonderful things.

It was during this time that I came back into contact with Geraldine Viola and rekindled that friendship. It was also during this time that my friendship with his sister, Tracy, began to develop into a now cherished friendship. The golf tournament has introduced me to hundreds of wonderful people as well as helped so many deserving organizations in Bill’s name. So while Bill is no longer physically with us, he is still with each and every one of us in our hearts and in the friendships we have subsequently developed and in the golf tournament that we have because of him.

We love you Bill and will always remember.

Jen Normand