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They were friends, neighbors, business associates and golfing partners.
In speaking of John Clinton Hartz, the words "best friend" came to mind for many, as did "pillar," "adviser" and "someone who would rise to the occasion in the face of adversity."
A crowd of more than 700 turned out for a memorial service at St. Bernards Episcopal Church yesterday to bid farewell to the 64-year-old Bernards Township man who, they said, meant so much to the Somerset Hills community.
"Honorable, that is the word for him," said his sister, Elizabeth H. Forster, a New York City resident.
Mr. Hartz, as senior vice president of Fiduciary Trust International, was at work on the 94th floor of Two World Trade Center when a hijacked jetliner slammed into his building.
Just as in 1993, when Mr. Hartz rounded up fellow workers following the bombing of the World Trade Center and led them to safety, his resolve during the Sept. 11 tragedy must have been the same.
"This time it took him to heaven," said his wife, Elinore.
He was so well thought of at Fiduciary Trust that two busloads of employees made their way to Bernardsville yesterday to pay their respects.
As a member of the Essex Hunt Club in Peapack-Gladstone and a lifelong member and current president of the Somerset Hills Country Club, Mr. Hartz's life was deeply rooted in the community.
As a youngster, he attended Far Hills Country Day School with childhood friend Dan Todd, brother of former Gov. Christie Whitman and an usher at yesterday's service.
"It's senseless," Todd said of the terrorist attack that took his friend. "We shouldn't have had to lose John in this way."
John von Stade, chairman of the Far Hills Race Meeting, was another good friend. "He was a good friend to all of us here," he said.
And while his life was spent in the realm of power and influence, there was an innocence to Mr. Hartz many considered to be profound.
Elinore Hartz said he sometimes recited a familiar childhood prayer before going to sleep -- "Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take."
In addition to his wife and sister, Mr. Hartz is survived by his children, John C. Jr. of Palm Beach, Fla., and Catherine B. Hartz of Boston; his stepchildren, Hadley F. Gates and David A. Pollet, both of Boston; two nieces, Laura Forster of Mill Valley, Calif., and Lisa Forster of New York City; and two nephews, Scott Hartz of San Francisco and Tim Forster of River Edge.
He was predeceased by his first wife, Catherine, his brother, Raymond E. Hartz Jr., and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond E. Hartz.
Profile by Eleanor Barrett published in THE STAR-LEDGER