Jeffrey Gardner

Yes, Jeffrey Gardner, 36, sold insurance, but nothing about him fit the bland image of an insurance salesman. His title at Marsh & McLennan was environmental insurance broker. After work, he might appear in one of many guises. An opera lover and wine connoisseur who relaxed by smoking one of his many hand-carved pipes. An adventurer on a motorcycle tooling around rough country. A joker who hired an Austin Powers impersonator to corner a friend at a restaurant and sing 'Happy Birthday.' And a man so grateful for his life that he spent his weekends and vacations building homes in Newark, Honduras and Brazil.

'He had so many things going,' said Amy Gardner, his younger sister.

His work for Habitat for Humanity was, perhaps, his favorite. It let him combine many favorite activities: carpentry, making friends with volunteers and children, and seeing the excited expressions of new homeowners. For Mr. Gardner, said his sister, those were great days. More ordinary times, she remembers him saying, were merely good days. He had a sun symbol tattoed on his ankle, she said, because for him, a good day was as bad as it got.

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I did not know Jeff, but after reading the glowing tributes others have left in his memory, I feel like I did. Sad that so many unique individuals, including Jeff, were lost on 9/11. Condolences to all that knew and remember him. America has not forgotten.
Leslie Honcharik, Friend
Oct 11 2022 4:29PM
It's staggering to consider that it's been 20 years since Jeff was stolen from us. We were friends since high school, occasional co-conspirators in the antics forever embedded in my memories. Even now, nearly 40 years later, they make me smile. The last time I saw Jeff was serendipitous, running into him at the bakery in our hometown. We were both in town, visiting our families. He told me about his girlfriend, who he planned to marry ... and it breaks my heart that he never got to walk down the aisle with her. How many homes in far-flung countries weren't built because Jeff wasn't there to work on them with Habitat for Humanity? How many lives never were touched, or changed for the better, by this remarkable human being? I had a sun symbol tattooed on my wrist 10 years ago, Jeff's tattoo, to remind me that a good day was as bad as it got ... and that with so many people who still think about Jeff, and share their stories of him, that he is still very much with us.
Linda (Nudelman) Donahue, Friend
Sep 12 2021 2:46AM
I first met Jeff at AIG-San Francisco.He was the smartest guy in the Environmental Dept. Enjoyed working with him. Followed his career as he moved to Marsh-NY. Shocked and sad at the loss of this good guy.
paul Vogelgesang, Colleague
Sep 11 2021 3:36AM
Jeffrey; Ron and I speak of you often. You were a wonderful friend to Ron and a great colleague. We had hoped for so much love to come to you in the future. We send you love especially today.
Cathi L Marx, Friend
Sep 11 2018 7:54PM
Jeffrey, I have thought about you so often over the years. I have never reached out to your family or left a note b/c I have always been at a loss for what to say. I know your answer would be that I'm never at a loss for words. Jeffrey and I were close friends through high school and college. We lost touch somewhere in our mid 20s but always had a relationship where we could connect after not speaking for years and it was like it had only been a couple of days. We assumed we would always be there for each other no matter what. I still have several letters you wrote me in college. It makes be so sad (and happy) to read all the details you used to write me about life, your thoughts and feelings. You were an amazing guy and a great friend. You will always be in my heart. I miss you.
Wendy Nathan Friedmann, Friend
Sep 25 2016 8:22PM
Jeffrey and I worked together at AIG, both here in NY and in Philadelphia. We lost track of each other; I didn't know until today that we lost him that day. He comforted me at a difficult time and was one of the sweetest young men I ever knew.
Eileen S Lynch, Colleague
Sep 11 2016 0:10PM
I think of you often. You were so kind to me and so generous to all your colleagues with your knowledge and wisdom. I think of your family and loved ones. You were taken from them much too soon. My prayers are with them today and always.
Laura Richmond Paulsen, Colleague
Sep 11 2015 9:36AM
I think of you often. You were so kind to me and so generous to all your colleagues with your knowledge and wisdom. I think of your family and loved ones. You were taken from them much too soon. My prayers are with them today and always.
Laura Richmond Paulsen, Colleague
Sep 11 2015 9:36AM
Fiquei muito feliz em ver um lugar onde podemos fazer uma homenagem a voce,uma pessoa muito simples,divertida,humana,inteligente,e ainda nos ensinou a dancinha da galinha.Aqui em Goias-Brasil,no Habitat voce deixou saudades e lembrancas eternas.Saudades muitas.
Flaviane de Oliveira, Friend
Dec 27 2013 8:17PM
Jeff, You continue to be missed & in our thoughts by friends and colleagues. We will continue to be upstanding insurance persons in your memory. You lived like like we all should, giving back, time, talent & treasure. I look forward to playing a game of hoop with you in the next life. Peace, Greg
Greg Wessel, Colleague
Sep 12 2012 10:08PM
11 years later and I still miss him. I had just emailed him the day before to let him know I was working in NYC and looking forward to hooking up with him.
kenneth Smith, Friend
Sep 12 2012 10:35AM
I shared an apartment and friendship with Jeff in San Francisco back in 1992-3. I am moved by the many stories from others who had the privilege of knowing him, whether at work or elsewhere, that confirm what I already knew. A man of integrity, Jeffrey was the same wherever he went. His optimism, his infectious joy for life, and his sincere care for others were but a few of the qualities that I admired in him and will never forget. What a great legacy for a life well-lived. Jeffrey, you are loved and missed.
David Mines, Friend
Sep 12 2011 10:59AM
Maybe Jeffrey and I are members of the same 'karass' (the cosmic eternal teams of Vonnegut's 'Cats Cradle'). Our paths crossed with sporadic inevitability from the time we were in our mid teens and he was one of my brother's schoolboy friends, through our mutual careers in various different offices at AIG Environmental, until the last time I bumped into him on a visit to New York and he told me he was with Marsh. When we each went on our way I said 'Good to see you again. 'Bye' but he said 'Arrivederci'--I hope he was right. To Jeff's family, I hope you can take some comfort knowing that Jeff is remembered and missed by so many who knew him.
Rachel Lerner, Colleague
Sep 11 2011 8:37PM
So hard to believe that it's been 10 years already. I was so happy when you came to work at Marsh with the environmental practice. Your enthusiasm and energy were infectious! You were always ready to help or listen whenever any of us reached out to you. Whether it was about insurance matters, cold remedies (your homeopathic wellness regimen) or the perfect wine suggestion - it didn't matter - you were always ready to help. I'll never forget the Thursday nite before 9/11 when we were walking to meet some colleagues and you told me how happy you were about certain things going on in your life! You are still missed and not forgotten.
Ursula Knowles, Colleague
Sep 10 2011 8:30PM
We think of Jeff, today, like most days. Today we think of him with a diversity of feelings. I am happy to have known Jeff and am grateful that my husband and son had the joyous opportunity to be in his presence at my mom's house in Lavallette, NJ. Thanks to Owen we were so blessed by knowing Jeff Gardner. He was so kind and so gifted in many ways. Here is a huge hug to Jeff and his family. Owen and Jeff were so great together. God Bless....
Carolyn Nelson, Friend
May 2 2011 8:39PM
I didn't know that this site even existed...I used to work for Marsh, years ago (actually, first for J&H;, and then Marsh...before the merger). I was checking the site for a location list, and stumbled across this. Jeff and I dated at one point, back when he was still @ AIG. Those were glorious days...the environmental liability market was in its infancy, and those of us associated with it were young and had opportunity, fun, so much potential. Jeff and I became friends...and then more. We were too young to make the commitment that would have been required to sustain a romantic relationship (I was in Pgh., he in Phil.) But we NEVER lost touch. In fact, Jeff was supposed to call me...we were planning on spending a weekend together. He was going to call me so that we could set up the travel arrangements. The night he was to call? September 11, 2001. I love him to this day.
Deborah Ujevich, Friend
Feb 11 2011 1:10PM
I just want to pay tribute to a wonderful guy. Jeff, was my colleague while at AIG under the ole division 57, which was Pollution and Energy. Jeff was an absolute pleasure to work with and just a great person all around. Jeff you are always in my thoughts and prayers... Rest well my friend until we meet again.. Vaya Con Dios, Bob Blackman
Bob Blackman, Colleague
Sep 12 2009 8:21PM
Jeff and my wife, my new born daughter, and I lived next to each other in Hoboken. Jeff always would knock on our door to play with my little girl Mackenzie... Jesh, Jesh she would say, when he picked her up. We shared a good deal of time together on projects for our homes. We got close to Jeff and his sister Amy who we still count amomg our closest friends along with his brother Eric. Everyone who met Jeff always remembers his great personality, his terrific sense of humor, caring ways and many of his wonderful traits. Jeff was truely one of the life's rare people. He made such an impact on us, we named our son, who will be 8 this year, after him. We speak of him often, and there are many fond memories of him around our home. We miss him and he will live through the stories I tell my children about him and in our hearts.
Carl & Amy Ricci, Friend
Sep 11 2009 4:59PM
Jeff was an amazing guy always full of life and always charismatic. It didn't matter who you were or what you did his attitude was always one and the same. Gone but not forgotten.
Crystal R, Colleague
Sep 11 2009 9:39AM
Jeff was moving on from regional manager in underwriting at AIG in San Francisco when I temping there- yes, temping. Even though we we were both quite young at the time and in different walks of life, his thoughtfulness and professionalism influenced me. I see this memorial has been up for many years now. Having just found it through sheer happenstance, I'm adding a good thought.
Roxanne G, Colleague
Jan 5 2009 7:00PM
You are missed and will never be forgotten.
Alan Bressler, Friend
Sep 11 2008 9:53AM
Jeff, as a friend & colleague...while you are upstairs looking down on us you will never be forgotten. You were a great guy to get to know a bit, were very well thought of in our business world and I have read about some of your other exploits helping others that you never boasted about. A true gentleman. I look forward someday to a hoop game in heaven and will continue to work hard in your memory and be thankful that our paths crossed in my lifetime. Saludos, Greg Wessel
greg wessel, Friend
Aug 6 2008 12:43AM
When I first met Jeff, I was having a bad day. I mean a real bad day. He assured me tomorrow would be better. When I asked if he ever had a bad day. He said to me 'Every day above ground is a good day for me.'. Wow...does that say alot.
Tim Mitchell, Friend
Jul 28 2007 3:39AM
I am a close friend of Jeff's cousin, Nancy Callahan. Jeff and I had become friends on his many visits to San Diego. I loved his east coast sense of humor and still miss him very much. I came to know his mama, Eilene well also and see why he turned out to be such a fine young man. Lovely family. What a loss to all of us. My best to Amy and Eric and all the family.
Lynne Moore, Friend
Sep 12 2006 6:41PM
I know of Jeff Gardner through his sister Amy Gardner and a brother of his. I am a Habitat for Humanity Family Partner and I am very honored, blessed and grateful to have my son and I home built in the great name of Jeff Gardner. God bless Mr. Gardners' family.
Rosetta Hollis, Friend
Sep 23 2005 8:58PM
Jeff was one of my many cousins. One of the last times I saw him was at my wedding. That is a memory my wife and I will always cherish. I am writing to let everyone know, our first child was born yesterday, 04/22/2004. We hope Ryan Jeffrey Kaufman can become half the man Jeff was. Ian Kaufman
Ian Kaufman, Family
Apr 23 2004 2:53PM
I went to Livingston High School with Jeff. Our group of friends called ourselves the 'Reunite Gang'. That really dates us... Though I did not keep in touch with Jeff much after graduating college, I was saddened to hear he was gone. Jeff he was a very sweet guy and we all will never forget him. Jill (Resnick) Byrd
Jill Byrd, Friend
Sep 11 2003 12:28PM
I worked with Jeffrey during his AIG San Francisco days. He is fondly remembered for his quick wit and engaging smile. We are all better for knowing him.
Kim Wells, Friend
Sep 5 2003 12:23PM
I first met Jeff when he worked at AIG in San Fracnsico and he was after us at Marsh to send him some new business. We then played insurane basketball against one another and even while on the short end he never stopped playing hard against you. We stayed in touch a bit after he returned back East. I am still very sad that such a quality person such as Jeff is gone, but his enthusiam in Life will never be forgoten. To Jeff, See you on the hoop court upstairs someday, Greg Wessel
Greg Wessel, Colleague
Sep 8 2002 2:15AM
I just found out about Jeff's death today. I knew Jeff from Willis. It broke my heart to find out that he was one of the victims of the Sept 11 attacks. All I could think about is the time I spent with Jeff, working with him, knowing him, and enjoying his friendship. My sympathy to his family, collegues, and friends. Jeff, you will be missed. Tatiana
Tatiana, Friend
Apr 13 2002 2:46PM
I worked with Jeff on a couple of global accounts around 1994 through 1997. I always found Jeff very approachable and very helpful. It was a pleasure to work with a colleague who was so professional and yet also very caring. I was fortunate to meet Jeff on a couple of occasions during his visits to the UK and this reinforced my respect and liking of him. Like everyone it was with disbelief that I learnt of the WCT atrocity and whilst I am extremely sad at the total loss of life it was really brought home to me when I read that Jeff was one of those killed in the attack. My thoughts are with his family and relatives and with the relatives of all those who lost a part of their life in the attack. Jim Matthews
Jim Matthews, Colleague
Apr 4 2002 3:17AM