Dorothy Chiarchiaro, 61, and her niece, Dolores Costa, 52, were the best of friends. They went on vacations together, grew up in the same Brooklyn brownstone on Dean Street, were maid of honor at each other's wedding, and both worked for the same company at the World Trade Center.
Dorothy, an organizer at Fred Alger Management, Inc., worked on the 103rd floor of the North Tower. Dolores, who would have turned 54 on September 13th, worked several floors below her aunt and rose to the position of vice president at the company.
Dorothy's husband, Nick, remembers her as a woman of many talents — dancing, knitting, decorating. During their 37 years of marriage, he rarely experienced an hour of boredom. Dorothy managed to perfectly balance her demanding job, caring for two children, and making time for fun. It wasn't an easy task, but she mastered it perfectly. "Kind," Nick said, thinking of words to characterize his beloved wife. "Considerate and cantankerous."
Giving was the trait that defined Dolores, who spent her spare time crocheting colorful afghans for friends and feeding finches, warblers and sparrows that lived in the birdhouses in her backyard in Port Monmouth, New Jersey. "My wife had a heart of gold — she was very soft," said Charles, her husband, who recalled that people were drawn to her blue eyes and her smile. She rose at 5 a.m. every morning to go to work, and was giving from the minute she got up. "She was giving to me, to her home, to strangers in the street," Charles said. "She gave herself. When she was at her job, she was giving 110 percent."
Two years after he lost his wife and niece when American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into their office building on September 11th, 2001, Dorothy's husband visited his ancestral home in the Italian region of Sicily, bringing some family photos of Dorothy and Dolores, neither of whom's remains were found in the rubble of the Twin Towers, along with him. A relative took him into the beautiful family vineyard, dug a hole to represent a grave and placed the photos in the soil, telling the widower, "Your family will be here forever."