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Though Joseph Vilardo was a successful stock trader, his greatest joys came outside of work, spending time with his family.
A senior vice president for Cantor Fitzgerald Securities, Mr. Vilardo, 42, of Stanhope, was working on the 104th floor of One World Trade Center when a hijacked jetliner hit the building Sept. 11.
Just a day earlier, Mr. Vilardo proudly called his parents in Barnegat to tell them their grandson, Matthew, had hit a home run Sunday, recalled Mr. Vilardo's mother, Ann Vilardo.
A coach of his son's Little League team, Mr. Vilardo also was an outdoor enthusiast and avid skier, who enjoyed taking his children on skiing trips.
"He was always with his kids. Whatever they did, he was there with them," said Mr. Vilardo's lifelong friend, Joseph Cook.
Mr. Vilardo grew up in North Arlington, and lived in Byram and Rutherford before moving to Stanhope.
His skiing hobby dated to a grade-school trip to the Alps. He returned home with a love for the slopes as well as a keepsake gift for his mother, a Swiss crystal centerpiece dish.
"He brought me home the most beautiful piece of crystal. I said, 'How did you bring it home?' He said, 'I wrapped it in a towel,' " Ann Vilardo recalled.
Mr. Vilardo also enjoyed hiking and walking his dogs, as well as playing golf and guitar.
His interest in business was sparked in a class about the stock market at North Arlington High School, from which he graduated in 1977, Cook said.
"He became great with it," Cook said. "He worked his way up and became very successful."
Having worked for Cantor Fitzgerald for about the past nine years, Mr. Vilardo was promoted to senior vice president of Canadian trading a few years ago. It was a prestigious position trumpeted by the company in large newspaper ads.
Mr. Vilardo is survived by his wife, Patricia; a daughter, Nicole, and a son, Matthew, all of Stanhope. Also surviving are his parents, Barry and Ann Vilardo of Barnegat, and three sisters, Diane Braitsch of Hasbrouck Heights, Margaret Mahon of Lanoka Harbor and Janet Vilardo of Lyndhurst.
Profile by Jim Lockwood published in THE STAR-LEDGER