Andrew Fisher's family has also had a memorial service, though they have not yet found his body.
Adam Arias' wife all but gave up her battle with cancer after learning her husband was killed in the terror attack in New York. But in the weeks since, she said, memories of her husband have helped renew her determination to keep up the fight.
"I can't disappoint him now. He fought too hard to keep me alive," said his wife, Margit. "He kept telling me, you could do anything you put your mind to."
Born in Manhattan and raised in Staten Island, Arias dropped out of high school and got his GED before his senior class graduated. He was 17 when he started working in a mailroom on Wall Street, before acquiring the licenses he needed to break into the financial field.
He had been working for EuroBrokers and was recently promoted to vice president of operations. He still had no degree.
On Sept. 11, Arias, 37, was working on the 84th floor of the World Trade Center's south tower when he received a call from his brother, Don, an Air Force officer at NORAD. He urged Arias to get out of the building after the first plane hit the north tower.
Arias' body was found eight days later amid the rubble, and his family has already held a funeral service.
Colleagues have called Arias a hero, saying he relayed his brother's warning to others in the building. Family members believe those actions were in character for Arias, who made it his practice to help people in need.
"Apparently his last moments here on Earth were spent performing a final act of Christian charity," said his brother, Don. "For me that gives a lot of meaning to his life."
Matthew Picerno was the kind of guy who would ski backward down a mountain (no poles) so he could videotape his kids' progress. He's the kind of guy who once got kicked out of Disneyland for leaping out of the boat to play with the pirates. He'd give ice cream to his three children just minutes before dinner--sorry, mom.
During the week, he was a responsible municipal bonds trader. But on weekends, "I had four kids," said Petrina Picerno, who lost her 44-year-old husband in the World Trade Center collapse.
Picerno was a self-made man who worked as a Bayonne longshoreman while educating himself, first as a computer programmer and then as a bond trader. He and his wife of 18 years also recently started a winemaking school. His rough hands, sometimes grape-stained, contrasted oddly with his job at Cantor Fitzgerald.
His two sons and daughter, ranging in age from 9 to 14, at first held out hope their father might emerge alive from the rubble. Though their father's body was found in the ruined building, they are still thankful. More than 700 of his co-workers remain missing.
"We were able to bury him. It helped to give closure, psychologically, for me and my children," Petrina Picerno said.
Andrew Fisher spoke Italian, taught himself Dutch, and worked in Canada, the Netherlands and Australia before finally settling into a career in his native New York City.
His sister Nina joked that it would take a book to contain her globetrotting brother's memories. And she said he actually left one for his family--a photo album he filled with concert ticket stubs, letters to his parents, cards from friends, and a myriad former employee identification badges.
The software sales manager was attending a meeting on the 106th floor of the trade center's north tower on Sept. 11. A memorial mass was said for him Sept. 29, though his body remains missing.
Big, boyish, and perpetually smiling, Fisher was one of six siblings--the one the others looked to for support in hard times and for a laugh when times were better, his sister said.
"He had a great laugh--really hearty. And when he would crack jokes, he would be the first person laughing," she said. "He was really goofy, really silly that way. It's why he had so many friends."
Recently, Fisher had been excited about joining Imagine Software in New York and had been in his new post for only four months, said his mother, Marie. He was also looking forward to a vacation in Australia, where he was to have become a godfather. At last, he told friends and family, he thought he had found his niche.
His mother said she keeps looking at a portrait of him. "A laughing face. A smiling face."
Tribune staff reporters Donna Freedman, James Janega and Maria Kantzavelos contributed to this report.