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Age:
49
Place of Residence:
West Hempstead, NY
Location on 9/11:
One WTC
Occupation:
Cantor Fitzgerald | Government Agencies Broker
Biography:

Bruce Douglas Boehm, known as “Chappy” to his close friends and family — a nickname he’d been given by his co-lifeguards at Nassau Beach, for the way he kicked his feet when he walked, much like comedian Charlie Chaplin — was killed on Sept. 11, 2001. He was working then as a full-time broker at Cantor Fitzgerald, a financial services firm that stretched from the 101st to 105th floors of the World Trade Center’s north tower. Boehm was working on the 104th floor that day.

Six-hundred fifty-eight of 960 New York Cantor employees were killed on 9/11.

For Boehm and his wife, Irene, Sept. 11 was supposed to be filled with warmth and happiness, not fear and tragedy. It was their 19th wedding anniversary — they were married on Sept. 11, 1982 — and they were planning a romantic dinner.

For Irene, Sept. 11 is now bittersweet. “As horrible a date as it is, it is also the date of one of my happiest days in my life,” she said.

Boehm and Irene met the night before Thanksgiving in 1980, at the Sports Page Bar in Woodbury, which no longer exists. Irene’s sister’s sister-on-law introduced her to Bruce, and they began dating in January of 1981.

“For me, it was love at first sight," Irene said. "I said, ‘Hello,” and then told my friend, ‘I just met the man I am going to marry.’ Of course, Bruce had no idea.”

The two were engaged nine months later.

The Boehms had two children — Brittany, now 26, a registered nurse at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, and Stacey, now 23, a registered nurse at North Shore in Manhasset. They lived in Valley Stream for one year before buying a home in 1987 in West Hempstead, where Irene and Stacy still live today.

Boehm was born in Rockville Centre in 1952, and grew up in Franklin Square — where his mother, Dorothy, 90, still lives. Boehm loved the ocean, and that adoration translated into a job as an ocean lifeguard for nearly 17 years — from 1970 to 1986 — at Nassau Beach (now Nickerson Beach).

After graduating from Valley Stream North High School, Boehm attended Binghamton University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in literature in 1974. Gregarious and athletic, he was constantly active, whether it was socializing, going to the beach, biking or running. “He had a wonderful zest for life,” Irene said. “He loved to run, and he loved competition. After 9/11, people would comment on missing him running through the streets.”

Boehm had run 10 New York City marathons, numerous other races, and participated in several triathlons before he died. Only days before 9/11, he competed in the Town of Hempstead triathlon at Lido Beach.

In the decade since 9/11, the Boehm family has been through many changes. "There is no such thing as closure,” Irene said. “Coping with the loss of my husband and the girls’ dad is an ongoing daily process. We don’t cry as much anymore.”

After 9/11, Irene and her daughters attended a support group, where they met four other women who were also suffering from the loss of a loved one, and who continue to offer the family support. “They really are my best friends,” Irene said. “We see each other at least once a month; we go on vacations together. They are the only people who really understand how I feel.”

Every year, on the anniversary of 9/11, the Boehms attend the memorial ceremonies in Point Lookout and Jones Beach — where Boehm’s name is listed on a 9/11 monument. “The 9/11 anniversary is really for other people,” Irene added. “I live 9/11 every day of my life.”

Brittany and Stacey, who were 16 and 13 at the time of their father’s death, have both worked as lifeguards since they were 17. Irene works in the Elmont Union Free School District Superintendent’s Office, and volunteers twice a month at the World Trade Center Tribute Center. “It is painful, but therapeutic,” she said. “I don’t ever want people to forget that horrible day.” (source)