Spellbound by Beauty, He Loved to Photograph
December 21, 2001
As a child, David S. Suarez was nurtured with the stories his father told him about the native civilization of their ancestral Peru, the majestic ruins the Incas left at Machu Picchu and all the other legends of the land.
It was not a surprise then that last year Suarez conspired with his sister, Kristen, in convincing their family to take a trip to South America and see firsthand the remains of that civilization and the impressive landscapes surrounding them.
They hiked a portion of the Inca trail, witnessed the grandeur of the site and marveled at Cuzco's Temple of the Sun. There, the family took one of their last group photos with the towering mountains and archaeological treasures in the background, before returning to their suburban home in West Windsor, N.J.
The family outing had deep significance for Suarez, who wrote about it in an essay he was preparing for his graduate school application. Suarez, 24, an industrial engineer working on software applications with Deloitte Consulting, never filed his essay.
Suarez was working on a project for the insurance brokerage company Marsh & McLennan, on the 99th floor of Tower One. He remains among the missing.
When they think of him, relatives remember a happy man, friendly and outgoing but also a hard worker. "He is one of those guys who always had a smile on his face and let things roll off his back. At 24 you always have a lot of energy, said his mother, Carol Suarez.
Formerly a co-captain of his wrestling team in high school, Suarez graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1999 and went on to work with the consulting firm. He was assigned to the Manhattan-based client about two years ago, leading a project on software conversion.
Using his digital camera, Suarez left traces of the life he led in both his temporary apartment in Manhattan's West Side and his family's home.
Suarez often went to work early, so he could take the elevator to the Windows on the World restaurant and take snapshots of the sunrise above New York City. He went hiking, and had photos of mountains, of himself surrounded by the whiteness of snow. Spellbound by beauty, he often walked to the Central Park rose garden, where he once took his father, Ted Suarez, to see nature's colors. He left his camera loaded with photos of the garden.
Suarez also fit in his schedule occasionally helping at soup kitchens, or volunteering in other ways. Once, while in college, he organized a yearly Dance-a-Thon to raise funds for children with cancer. He joined others in dancing for 48 straight hours at the event.
"He wrote about it, his father said. "When he would see children with cancer and he would remember their pain, it gave him courage to help other people.
Suarez also enjoyed spending time with his family, and had recently gone hiking with his brother, Bryan. The weekend before the attacks, he had been asking his parents about the family's history and his own childhood so he could complete the essay he was working on.
"In talking, we realized we are basically an ordinary family and the extraordinary thing is that we were so close, his father said.
On Sept. 11, Suarez was to meet his father for lunch, since they worked a few blocks from each other. When his father walked through the devastation that was lower Manhattan, and the office documents littered nearby streets, he felt an impulse to pick one sheet of paper and take it home.
Later, he read it and realized it was a page taken out of the software project his son had been working on. He regarded it as "a sign from God that his son is in heaven, because he says,there is no other way to explain it.
In Suarez' memory, friends created The Dave Suarez Scholarship Fund, c/o The KAO Educational Foundation, PO Box 1865, Lexington, Va. 24450.
Copyright © 2001, Newsday, Inc.
Copyright © Newsday, Inc. Produced by Newsday Electronic Publishing.
About Us | E-mail directory | How to Advertise
Powered by Genuity