As of Saturday, the voice of Bennett L. Fisher still greeted callers on his family’s answering machine in Greenwich, Conn.
“We have to get rid of that,” his wife Susan Fisher told a family member after being reminded of its existence. “It’s upsetting people.”
Bennett Fisher’s family and members of the Yale community are coming to realize that the Yale alumnus who worked for Fiduciary Trust International on the 94th to 97th floors of the World Trade Center will never answer another call with the friendly “yo” he used as the greeting on his answering machine.
Fisher is the seventh alumnus the Yale Daily News has reported missing in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, though the number of missing will rise to at least nine. The Association of Yale Alumni posted a Web site Friday with the names of five missing alumni but is confirming details with the families of four other missing alumni, two of which have been reported missing by the News.
“We think there are reasonably well-confirmed reports of nine alumni,” AYA director Jeffrey Brenzel said. “There could always be more.”
The News has already reported that David M. Berray ’84, David Shelby Berry ’80, Fisher, Bradley Hoorn ’01, Richard Y. Lee ’91, Christopher Murphy ’88 and Stacy L. Sanders ’98 are among the casualties. Brenzel declined to disclose the names of the other two graduates until he has talked to their families.
The Fishers’ 32-year wedding anniversary recently passed Sept. 20, and Susan Fisher said she had little hope of recovering the body of the father of her two grown children. She said she remained confident that her spiritual convictions would prevent her from succumbing to uncertainty and false hope.
She described her husband as a thoughtful and aware man, who was frustrated with the politics of his age and wanted people to look at the big picture. As a proponent of small government, Bennett believed there was too much self-interest in domestic and foreign policy decisions.
“He was always my source of what was going on in the world,” Susan Fisher said. “He asked a lot of questions and looked for a lot of answers. He was frustrated with Paula Jones, taxes and foreign policy, little things and big things.”
Bennett had always wanted to go to Yale, which was a tradition in his family — but when he first applied, the school turned him down. He succeeded in gaining admission several years later after briefly joining the Marines. He became an engineering student but soon flunked out. Again, he refused to give up and worked his back into the school and graduated with the Class of 1966, Susan Fisher said.
Despite the turbulence that marked his career at Yale, Bennett made many friends here.
“He loved Yale, and he loved carrying on the tradition of his family in going there,” Susan Fisher said.
Brenzel said he hopes to eventually make the AYA Web site a service to the families of the victims by allowing them to post a messages and a wish to the Yale community but added that it could be a slow process.
“For instance, two of the families, rather than have flowers, would see people make a contribution to a relief fund,” Brenzel said. “Because the families are in some grief, it’s taking them some time to decide.”
Susan Fisher said she wished the manner of her husband’s death might bring the change in attitudes Bennett had hoped for during his life.
“He would be glad to know his death had a lot of meaning in our communities,” she said. “This whole tragedy gives a meaning and an honor that he never sought for himself in his life.”