The following story, reprinted from the 2002 Winter issue of The Trident, honors the six Tri Deltas who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Twenty years later, we remember their stories, along with many other lives lost on that day.
Alysia Burton Basmajian, William & Mary
According to Alysia’s friends, determination was one of her greatest assets. It was her determination that helped Alysia land an accounting job at Cantor Fitzerald on the 101st floor of the World Trade Center.
Alysia and her husband, Anthony, wed while still in college. Both met the challenges of their senior year and a difficult accounting program, all while raising their newborn daughter, Kaela.
“Through all of her challenges, she never lost sight of her goals, and she remained determined in her pursuit of them. Alysia has become the essence of what Tri Delta means to me,” said Kelli Miller, William & Mary.
Alysia’s Alpha Mu Chapter sisters were stunned to learn of the sad news. During recruitment, chapter members wore blue ribbons with their badges as a constant reminder of the tragic loss of their sister.
In addition to her husband and two-year-old daughter, she is survived by her parents, Milton and Barbara, and her brothers, Kevin and Jeff.
Kirsten Thompson Christophe, Michigan State
“She was extremely, extremely organized,” Charles Christophe said of his wife. “She was finding time for everything. She was able to manage everything.”
Everything is exactly what Kirsten did. She grew up in Chicago, Ill., and graduated from Michigan State in 1983. She served Phi Gamma Chapter as activities chairman and vice president/administration. She was named as a Top 25 Senior at Michigan State and a runner-up for Greek Woman of the Year.
In 1986, Kirsten received her law degree from DePaul and served as vice president of risk services for Aon Corporation in the World Trade Center. Kirsten was active in the American Bar Association’s tort and insurance practice section for 15 years. She was a nationally recognized expert in assisting law firms to comply with ethical and professional rules to prevent legal malpractice suits. Somehow, she also found the time to be an active member in the New York Junior League for 10 years.
Besides her husband and one-year-old daughter, Gretchen, survivors include her parents, Bert and Bettye, and a sister and brother-in-law, Eric and Kaia.
Jeannine Damiani-Jones, Villanova
Upon pledging Tri Delta in the spring of 1991, Jeannine made many friends in Gamma Beta Chapter. Three of her closest friends, Meghan McKeever Thompson, Jill Schwieterman and Maureen Lawless, all Villanova, remained in close contact with the former Gamma Beta Chapter treasurer in their post-graduate years. They traveled together, shopped together and served as bridesmaids in Jeannine’s wedding to Shawn Jones.
“Jeannine had a way of lighting up a room. She walked fast, talked loud and lived every day to the fullest. She had a great sense of humor and an infectious laugh,” wrote Meghan.
Upon graduation from Villanova, the finance major entered the training program at Cantor Fitzgerald, eventually becoming a government agency broker. She was known for not only loving her job, but also the people she worked with and the World Trade Center office they shared.
In addition to her husband, Jeannine is survived by her parents, Robert and Catherine, and a brother, Brian.
Mary Lou Hague, North Carolina
Mary Lou was known for her sparkling smile, dedication to her family, friends and community and an enthusiastic spirit.
During her eulogy, her friend, Suzanne Wingo, noted, “Friends and acquaintances always looked forward to seeing her again, knowing they would be greeted with a warm smile and a kind word. Mary Lou was content with herself and others – happy to be where she was and whom she was with at all times.”
It is evident Mary Lou was respected in Alpha Sigma Chapter and on the North Carolina campus. In 1995, she served the chapter as vice president/finance. She also served her chapter as treasurer and was student congress treasurer and an assistant clerk.
After graduating from North Carolina in 1996, the business major was employed at Keefe, Bruyette and Woods on the 89th floor of World Trade Center Tower 2.
Upon her death, Mary Lou’s family and friends planted pansies in the park outside of Mary Lou’s apartment.
In addition to her parents, Richard and Liza Adams and Eugene Hauge Jr. and his wife, Cindy, Mary Lou is survived by two sisters, Cynthia and Diana; two stepsisters, Shannon and Angela; one stepbrother; Richard; and one half-brother, Eugene.
Ann Campana Judge, Ohio Wesleyan
Ann arranged trips around the world for National Geographic Society writers, photographers and executives. That is how she came to be aboard American Airlines Flight 77 with three Washington, D.C., public school students and three teachers on a National Geographic-sponsored field trip to the Channel Islands in California.
In 1972, Ann led Delta Upsilon Chapter as president after serving as the chapter’s social chairman. In 1973, she earned a degree in fine arts from Ohio Wesleyan and later married her husband, Geoffrey, in 1978.
Ann had been with National Geographic for 22 years where she had been highly regarded by her colleagues, including Betty Johnson Hudson, Georgia, senior vice president of communications at National Geographic.
“Ann was the spirit of the place. She had a wonderful ‘can do’ attitude. It was on a trip together that we both realized we were Tri Deltas. I knew I liked her for a reason,” Betty said. “It was when I was delivering flowers and other items to her house after the tragedy that I realized how many others also liked her, as her Tri Delta sisters from Ohio Wesleyan were at her home helping the best way they could. It really reaffirmed the ties that bind us as Tri Deltas.”
In addition to her husband, Ann is survived by her mother, Ruth, her sister, Ellen, and her brother, Michael.
Bonnie Shihadeh Smithwick, Bucknell
On the morning of September 11, Bonnie arose at her home in the Hamptons, made coffee and left for her long commute to the World Trade Center. She managed a small-cap investment fund for the Fred Alger Investment Company on the 93rd floor of the North Tower, the exact floor where the first plane hit.
When the plane hit, Bonnie called her husband, Jim, at his office. He had not yet arrived. She spoke to his secretary, saying, “We have an emergency here, I must speak to Jim.”
The phone then went silent. Shortly after, Jim got the message. He tried, unsuccessfully, to get into the North Tower. Police and fire departments already had cordoned off the building. Jim hoped Bonnie had escaped, but unfortunately, she had not.
Bonnie pledged Tri Delta at Bucknell in 1965. After receiving her bachelor of arts degree from Bucknell, she earned a master’s of business administration from New York University. While at Bucknell, she sang in the Chapel Choir, was a varsity cheerleader and a member of the homecoming court.
In addition to her husband, Bonnie is survived by her parents, David and Jeanne; her son, Jim; daughter, Katherine; and brother, Peter.