Monday, September 11, 2006

Timothy John "T.J." Hargrave:
Husband, Father, Brother, Son... American Hero

Timothy John Hargrave of Readington, N.J., was killed by Islamic fundamentalists while working at his job as vice president at Cantor Fitzgerald, in the North Tower, 105th Floor. He was 38 years old.

He is listed as victim #562, but as you will read, T.J. was so much more... an incredible man, who leaves this world greatly diminished by his absence.

This despicable act left his wife Patty without her beloved husband, his daughters Corey, 9; Casey, 7; Amy, 5 without their adoring father, his mom Kathryn, sisters Maureen, Pat, Kathy, Mary Ann, Jeanmarie, Carolyn and brother Jamie, as well as countless others in his extended family, heartbroken. But they weren't the only ones affected. T.J. had a huge impact on everyone's life he touched, as witnessed by the many testimonials to him on the Internet. They speak of his zest for life, his sincerity, kindness, brilliance and his loyal friendship.

T.J. started working at age 6 and didn't stop until Sept. 11.

As a child, his work was acting. He was in many television commercials. The first film he did was released in 1971 and called "Such Good Friends," exposing him to legends behind the camera as well as in front of it. The film was directed by Otto Preminger, written by Elaine May, and also starred Dyan Cannon, James Coco, Ken Howard, Burgess Meredith, Louise Lasser and Laurence Luckinbill. In 1974, he joined the longest running soap opera, "The Guiding Light," creating the character of Tim "T.J." Werner. He left the show in 1976, apparently because he had shaved his head along with every other wrestler on his high school team, freaking out the producers. T.J. didn't seem to mind; it was just another funny story he could tell. His leaving allowed a then-unknown actor by the name of Kevin Bacon to take over the role. T.J. then went on to star in a made-for-television movie called, "The Prince of Central Park," with Ruth Gordon, Dan Hedaya and Brooke Shields.

As an adult, he worked at Cantor Fitzgerald. "People were flabbergasted when they found out," said his wife, Patricia. "He was someone who knew a little bit about everything."

But most of his prodigious energies went to those close to him: his wife, Patty; the friends they had made as far back as the Wayne, N.J., high school, DePaul, they both attended; his seven older siblings; his three young daughters; and all the girls on the soccer teams he coached.

"He was passionate about everything, and he was an everlasting friend," his wife said. "Once you were in his life, you stayed there. And he was the most devoted father you can imagine. He'd never played soccer a day in his life, but he wanted the girls to be involved in team sports, so he learned. I tell them, 'Some parents have their kids in soccer so they can have some time by themselves, but your father had you in soccer because he wanted to be with you.' He was more than a devoted father, more than a devoted husband," his wife said. He was "an everlasting friend to anybody that he ever met." He and his wife would have celebrated their 14th wedding anniversary in November, 2001.

Of course, no one can honor him better than his own family. In 2002, his daughter left this note for him:

Dear dad,
I miss you. You have been very, very nice. I'd do anything to get you back.

I love you and miss you.
love your peanut cori

Corinne Hargrave (Stanton, NJ )

And then this one from his wife:

T - I've spent every second of every day of the last 4 1/2 months thinking about you. My mind will always be filled with wonderful memories of our 20 years together. Although way too short (no I don't mean you), I am so grateful for that time. I love you for so many reasons, way too many to go into, but... to list a few: your absolute devotion to and love for Cori, Casey, Amy and me, for all you taught me over the years, the confidence you instilled in me, your level-headedness with our girls, the fun we knew we would have when you were around, and in general, just the brilliant person you were. I thought about it the other day, and if I was asked to describe you in one word, it would be BRILLIANT - that was your entire being - you were the smartest person I ever knew, and your caring, loving personality shone on all of us, enabling us to bask in that brilliant light and warmth that was you.

I know the impact you have had on so many of us, through the way you lived your life, will stay with us, and guide us, forever.

I will love you forever and miss you always.

Love, Patty

May G-d bless T.J. and his family.

Information in this entry was taken from various publications and Web sites including a profile published in The New York Times on November 24, 2001 and an article from the AP. You can find information on T.J.'s acting career on the Internet Movie Data Base.

2996: Honoring the 9/11 Victims -- We will never forget

Find out more information on the project as well as a list of participants.


At 12:28 PM, Blogger beakerkin said...

A fitting tribute and proof that in every act there are three degrees of seperation from Kevin Bacon.

At 12:49 PM, Blogger Dan Zaremba said...

It is all so very sad.
Very moving post Esther.

At 1:05 PM, Blogger Esther said...

Thanks guys. I truly wanted to honor him. In a past life, I actually interned on "Guiding Light" (it dropped "The" in 1977), so he was the one I felt a connection to the most. After researching him, my heart breaks for all who lost such a special human being, but also for those of us who never got the chance to know him.

At 4:10 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Another father leaving his children behind--all because the death cultists committed their vile deeds. I'm mad and sad, at the same time.

I've been reading tributes most of today. Hard to do. So much loss! So many bereaved!

I will never forget. NEVER!

Nicely done, Esther!

At 4:37 PM, Blogger Elmers Brother said...

You did a great job Esther for a great man.

At 7:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very moving post.

At 5:11 PM, Blogger RoadKnight said...

Awesome post, Esther. I had tears in my eyes all the way through it.

At 4:48 PM, Blogger Raggedy said...

Wonderful Tribute!
Thank you.
These are heartbreaking stories and difficult to read....
I am honored to be a part of this project.
Mine is posted also...

The 2996 link is down. I have a new link on my site to view the participants.

Bless you...

At 5:12 PM, Blogger RoadKnight said...

You can see the final list at

Apparently there was a problem withtheir servers and they had to scramble to get a new site up.

BTW, I didn't make it in time to join the 2996 Project, but I did a tribute anyway.

And, as always Never Forget

At 3:26 AM, Blogger Cup said...

What a lovely tribute, what a sad loss. You brought T.J. Hargrave to life for me, and left me just a little sadder on this sad day. My heart goes out to his wife and daughters.

I honored Dinah Webster on my blog.

At 9:13 AM, Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

I was very moved by the letter written to John Hargrave by his daughter and by his wife.

I was quite emotionally drained on these tribute posts by Monday night; but still think it's important to try and learn a little something about each person lost on that day. Thanks for bringing attention to his brilliance.

At 5:13 AM, Blogger RomanWanderer said...

Oriana is gone :(

At 6:47 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I spent days reading tributes. Left me drained. But not nearly as drained as the families and friends who no longer have their loved ones.

At 12:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7:14 PM, Blogger Esther said...

"Enlightenment's" hidious and ignorant post would have been allowed to stay on any other post of mine (I usually have no problem letting insane people show their colors)... but not this one.

At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Esther, I truly want to thank you for writing such a lovely tribute. I truly appreciate. It was done so nicely and it described what a good person he really was. Again, I thank you.

Cori Hargrave

At 11:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TJ touched me in that I saw the Prince of Central Park role, prompting me to read the book over and over again. Why? I was his age, a foster kid and related to his acting in a realism sense that helped me develop in a positive manner. Thank you and I hope his kids and wife live long as happy as possible lives!

At 9:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Life takes so many twists and turns - your loss has had such an impact on my life that I've never been able to explain to anyone. You are still so alive in so many ways and I thank you for the lessons you are teaching me today. Your star shines overhead.

At 9:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

His body was never found. People had no idea that T. J. Hargrave would one day to become the terrorist victim on the worst terrorist attack of any kind and any method in the history of USA, North America, Western Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere, and the world!!!!!!!

At 9:31 PM, Blogger sarah caroline said...

Knew TJ during his time at U of Delaware; his wife's word BRILLIANT so aptly described him! Always a smile, a kind word, and ready to break out in song. Ran into him when he was in the Merrill Lynch trainee program; how far he rose, and how much further he could have soared.... I cried when his name was read; my heart, thoughts and prayers are with his wife and family.

At 7:38 PM, Blogger jimmo said...

I actually remember T.J. Hargrave, was still watching "The Guiding Light" when his character of "T.J. Werner" was introduced. I was close to the age of that character as well, so felt a special connection to T.J.

I began watching "The Guiding Light," along with "Search For Tomorrow," around 1963, when my late mother introduced me to those soap operas. I watched them for many years, at first both with her and to fill my mom in on her "stories" (when she didn't always have TV sets in her hospital rooms); and then after her death to keep us connected, but also because I had grown to love those programs and the characters on them.

I also recall watching T.J. in the film "The Prince Of Central Park." He was a good actor, and it's a shame, for whatever reason(s), he left that profession. I feel he would have had as successful a career as the man who succeeded T.J. on "The Guiding Light," Kevin Bacon.

I wonder if any videotape(s) survive of T.J. on "The Guiding Light?"

Only very recently did I discover T.J. was killed, nay, murdered, in the Twin Towers attacks of 9/11/2001. It has been said many will eventually discover someone he or she knew (or knew of) who died on that fateful day. So T.J. is now my 9/11 angel.

Coincidentally, I had sometimes thought of T.J. in the intervening years between when he left "The Guiding Light " and 9/11, wondered what had become of him in terms of his acting. It was not easy to verify an actor's activities before the popularity of the Internet. And even after the development of the Web, I was either not connected or as savvy about the Internet as I am today.

As I never saw T.J. in any works besides the two mentioned, I still see him as that bright, beautiful 15 year-old boy looking forward to life, an image of T.J. that will remain frozen in my mind as long as I myself may live.

I offer my most profound condolences to T.J.'s family and friends, most especially to his wife and children. I wish you all nothing but happiness (or at least no more unhappiness) in your futures, because you have already suffered the deepest loss possible.

Take comfort that T.J.'s eternal light, a "guiding light," if you will, is shining upon you all, until you are reunited one day, never again to be parted.

We must believe a greater purpose to this life, that what makes us what we are does not end with physical death, but continues, on another level, forever.

I hope someone in T.J. Hargrave's family will read this, because it is for you that I am mainly posting this.

I take comfort myself in that, however distant and indirect, T.J. Hargrave is a part of my happy memories too.

At 8:26 PM, Blogger jimmo said...

Esther, you did a beautiful job writing this tribute to T.J. Hargrave.

It is nice to know that something in perpetuity exists on the Internet to acknowledge this fine man, because he didn't have an especially lengthy career in acting, may not have achieved the fame of more well-known actors, but nevertheless touched many who did have the good fortune of watching him in the few works in which he did perform.

T.J.'s greater contribution, it seems, was the love and warmth he brought to those in his more immediate circle of family, friends, and co-workers, which is really how most of us live our lives, even entertainers.

But it's important that T.J. be remembered as more than just a victim of one horrible act (of a few horrible acts) of one horrible day on this planet, because the sum of T.J.'s life, both private and public, was so much more. And your story reflects that.

I, like yourself, am/was a journalist, by training, and share with T.J. that I was also an entertainer, albeit the singer/songwriter in a little-known garage/punk rock band, not really an actor (although I sometimes think I was acting/pretending I was a singer more than I was in actuality). I just hope I brought some fun and laughs to some folks in the ten years I played clubs with my band.

Diminished health in more recent times has rendered me less active. But I still keep my eyes open upon what is happening in this world of ours, with a special fondness and sentiment for those things in my past that brought me joy and enlightenment.

T.J. Hargrave is a part of my happy nostalgia. And I am so happy you have shared the story behind this boy and man, so that the world may know he was more than a name on a list of 9/11 victims, as are all the lives taken in those despicable acts of that awful day--a life and a story in every one of them.

Someday, hopefully a long time from now, you and I will no longer be here. But your story remains behind for all to read, and know of a kind soul named T.J. Hargrave.

Please write me back if you wish, Esther. My Inbox is always open to you.

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