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Robert D. Mattson was one of the last people to leave the World Trade Center when it was bombed by terrorists in 1993.
At that time, Mr. Mattson, a decorated Army veteran of Vietnam and longtime banker with Fiduciary Trust Company International, helped rescue a pregnant co-worker before being airlifted to safety from a rooftop.
"He was there in '93 and was the last one out," Mr. Mattson's wife, Elizabeth, recalled. "An employee was 81/2 months pregnant, and he stayed with her. They carried her 16 flights to the roof. They came off the roof in a helicopter."
On Sept. 11, Mr. Mattson, a 54-year-old resident of the Green Pond section of Rockaway Township, was working on the 96th floor of the South Tower when the North Tower was struck by a hijacked plane. He spoke to his wife of 29 years to tell her he was all right and was making his way out of the building.
"He called me and said, 'A plane hit Tower One. It's not my building. I'm all right and I'm on my way out.' He was on the 90th floor," Elizabeth Mattson said.
Then, the second airplane struck Two World Trade Center.
Though she may never know for sure, she has heard that her husband was once again trying to hasten the evacuation of others by "directing traffic" inside the building.
"He was a wonderful husband and a great father. He was just an ordinary good guy," she said.
Employed as a senior vice president for Fiduciary Trust, Mr. Mattson worked for the firm the past 30 years.
Mr. Mattson was born in Brooklyn, attended Cardinal Farley Military Academy in New York and graduated from the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico in 1969.
For his heroism in Vietnam, Mr. Mattson was awarded the Bronze Star.
During the past 21 years, Mr. Mattson lived in Green Pond, where he was a former president of the community's board of directors. He also was a former Little League and basketball coach in Rockaway Township. Mr. Mattson was an avid runner and enjoyed playing tennis and golf.
Along with his wife, Mr. Mattson is survived by a daughter, Jean, 22, and a son, James, 21, both at home; his mother, Marguerite Mattson; and a brother, William Mattson, both of Staten Island, N.Y.
A memorial Mass will be held Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Mountain Lakes.
Profile by Jim Lockwood published in THE STAR-LEDGER