Remembering Joe Coppo
Sunday, September 10, 2006, 7:14 PM
“Two days before he died, my father told me that I should be disciplined, take pride in myself, stand up straight and hold my head up high,” Matt Coppo wrote in a college essay about his father, Joseph J. Coppo, Jr. Matt had been struggling emotionally with his size (he’d stood 6’3” and weighed 240 pounds at the time) when his father gave him this advice. “[H]e told me God had given me a great gift and that I should use it to my full potential.”
Matt admitted that he took those words for granted at the time, but they came to his aid during his father’s funeral days later—when Matt towered over almost everyone else and was an easy-to-spot focus.
“As I walked down the aisle at the end of [my father’s] service, I realized that everyone was looking straight at me. I tried to appear dignified and brave in the hope that my calm, tall presence would comfort my family and friends and give them the courage to make it through.”
Five years ago on September 11, 2001, Joseph J. Coppo, Jr., went to work on the 104th floor of the North World Trade Tower. He was Vice President of municipal bonds at Cantor Fitzgerald, but seemed to be more comfortable coaching kids on a baseball field. People knew him as every kid’s coach. He'd coached his youngest son’s All-Star baseball team that summer.
"He was very demanding, but he was someone you always wanted to work hard for," said his daughter, Kathleen, who played center field for him on a softball team.
Kathleen also relied on her father’s insight and good advice, saying he was "[M]y best friend, the first person I turned to for anything."
Joe Coppo didn’t believe in war and Kathleen, a teacher of social justice at a small Catholic school, seems to share that belief. Even though she lost her father in a terrorist attack, Kathleen’s wasn’t one of the voices crying out for retaliation, and she believes her father would have been proud of her stance following 9/11.
7 Did the Unhingey Jiggy
Engage in Unhingenosity
From what I have read in my research about Joe Coppo, he seemed to be the type of person who liked to be involved in his Community, especially if it had anything to do with baseball. He seemed to be the type of guy who easily inspired and led others—not because he was a big man, but because he had a big heart.
Joe Coppo, I remember you. Although I wouldn’t have shared your love of baseball, I would have eaten a hotdog on the stands with you and listened to what you had to say.
Patricia, Kathleen, Joseph, Matthew, and John, please know that your husband and father is not forgotten.
I never knew Joseph Coppo personally, but I have heard that he is one the kindest, nicest men alive.
I knew Mr. Coppo through his daughter Kathleen. Not only was he an amazing dad, but also a wonderful coach and motivator. I have nothing but the fondest memories of him, and will always keep him in my heart and prayers. God bless you all.
–Cheryl Gelsomino, 10/22/2004
Mr. Coppo, you will always be a hero to me and a hero to the town of New Canaan. The days I spent around you are days I will look back on for the rest of my life. You taught me lessons that I will take with me as I live the rest of my life. Your care and courtesy for not only myself but for the town of New Canaan will live forever.
–Matt Brook, 9/11/2005
Joe, I miss your honesty, humility and your friendship.
–Chris Queen, 2/25/2006
In the few short years that I knew Joe, I quickly came to realize how much I would learn from him. The veteran took the rookie under his wing. Always suggesting things in just the right way, not too forceful, but always firmly. As his catcher, I could see his ability to control any situation. It is my guess that this is how Joe was as a father and a husband. I will always remember the easy way and big smile.
–Carlos Rodriquez, college teammate, Manhattan College
I am very grateful and blessed to have known him and his lovely wife, Pat. God rest you, Joe, and God bless you, Pat and the children. He will never be forgotten. I feel I am a better person because he came into my life.
–Dorothy "Deebs" Butcher, friend
We still have not come to grips with the fact that Joe was taken from us in the most tragic and unfair of ways, but we take solace in the wonderful fact that God allowed him to be part of our lives for 47 very special years.
–James R. Quandt, friend
More memories can be found in Joe's Guestbook
The 2,996 victims who are remembered list (whoops, it's down)
Try the mirror site
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