Denis Lavelle

Family Tribute:My brother, Denis, was a great person. I don’t think he did a wrong thing in life. He was good to everyone. He would give you the shirt off his back.

My mom and dad had six children. First there were four girls (me being the last girl), and then came a boy finally, Denis. It was great growing up in this family. We were all very close. Thanksgiving and Christmas were great.

When my dad passed away, Denis took over. All of the girls were married and some had children of their own. He worked every day and went to school and most importantly, took care of my mom. The family house was huge and it needed a lot of work. My mom has arthritis and could not walk up and down the stairs very well. My brother used to go down to the basement and do the wash.

About three years ago, my mom sold the family home and bought a condo for her and Denis. My brother was a bachelor and never married. Even though the condo was much smaller, he still did so much for her. Even the little things that people don’t normally think about, such as open a window was difficult for my mom to do. Denis still yet did the wash, opened the windows, etc. He did so much for my mom, that I don’t think the rest of the family really appreciated until he was gone. My mom used to worry about what was going to happen to Denis if she passed away. He would have missed her terribly, but he would have been okay and able to take care of himself. Now, my mom is by herself and it is extremely difficult for her to take care of herself. We all check in on her. Just about every day, someone visits her and every day we all call her, but still, it is definitely not the same as having my brother there every day with her.

Denis loved comedy shows. He and my mom used to watch comedies on television all the time.

My brother loved Italian food. He was not a meat eater. He loved pasta. I used to make pasta and broccoli for family gatherings and he couldn’t get enough of it. I have not had the heart to make it since the September 11th tragedy. He and my mom used to enjoy eating out and ordering in food on the weekends. My mom used to cook during the week and now she has difficulty doing that. It is just not the same, she says.

My brother bought a new car finally in 1999. He was driving a 1987 Plymouth Sundance up until then. Instead of trading it in, he gave the car to my son Luke. And then I blew the head gasket on my car so I had to drive it. I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have that car in the driveway. He was so happy that someone was driving “Betsy” and putting some miles on it. (He didn’t drive much at all, he loved to walk wherever and whenever possible.)

Denis had 3 nieces, 6 nephews, 1 grandnephew and 1 grandniece. We all miss him very, very much. He was a great brother and I love him.


Following are the lyrics for “Chosen... Denis' Song”

Lyrics to the song were written in tribute by Tara Caloia-Moccia, Denis’ niece

There must be a reason, for all that has gone on.But what that reason is, it's hard to see right now.There's a lot of people hurting, a lot of people asking why.People are mourning, people can't stop crying.You were a son you were a brother, you were an uncle and a friend.We sit here in disbelief at how you met your end.

You were chosen, you were chosenFor a reason, even though we may not know what that reason is right nowYou were chosen, chosenTo make us better people, to make this world a better placeAnd we will never forget you smiling faceYou were chosen

There are so many people missing, so many questions left.It was a day of true horror, one we will never soon forget. People tell me thatthe angels came and took all those involved.Took them into Heaven and into God's palm.It was all a part of his plan, even though we may not see.And someday we'll understand how all this came to be.

Why you were chosen, you were chosenFor a reason, even though we may not know what that reason is right nowYou were chosen, chosenTo make us better people, to make this world a better placeAnd we will never forget your smiling faceYou were chosen

And I know I'm being selfish, wishing you were still here right now.Especially when I know you're in a better place looking down.But I just can't help it; I miss you oh so much.What I would do, just to touch you.

You were chosen, chosenFor a reason, even though we may not know what that reason is right nowYou were chosen, chosenTo make us better people, to make this world a better placeAnd we will never forget your smiling face, You were chosen.

Denis Lavelle: A Mother’s Devoted Son

Denis Lavelle idolized Rush Limbaugh and had cleared rooms at many a family gathering arguing his hard-line conservatism, but the last thing his relatives expected him to do was run for public office. But there was Mr. Lavelle over the summer, 42 and an absolute newcomer to retail politics, going door to door around Yonkers, where he was born and raised, collecting signatures for a run for the City Council on the Right to Life line.

'He had no chance,' said his brother-in- law, Alex Dziadek. 'But the party picked him because they knew he wouldn’t take it lightly.'

Mr. Lavelle, an accountant at Marsh & McLennan, had a ready smile, but he took his responsibilities seriously, and his greatest one was caring for his 75-year-old mother, who, widowed when he was 16, had become severely arthritic.

Mr. Lavelle, who never married, lived with his mother all his life, escorted her to Mass every Sunday and to the Italian restaurants on Central Avenue just about every weekend.

'He was so devoted to her,' said Mr. Lavelle’s sister Marie Paprocki. 'He was a dedicated son.'

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Condolences; RIP.
Leslie Honcharik, Friend
Oct 4 2022 2:26PM
Denis has been in my prayers for the last 10 years. When I first heard about the World Trade Center attack I knew many people would know someone affected. Little did I think I would know someone. Although we have not been in touch for many, many years, I will always remember Denis. My condolences and prayers.
Joseph Mylie, Family
Sep 7 2011 4:00PM
i'm soo sorry this has happened to your family. denis was a very nice kid. and your family was always blessed. i've been looking for you marie, please get in touch. your old friend laurie
laurie richardson tanner, Friend
Dec 9 2009 8:14AM
Hi, I am an old high school friend, Tech Elec '78. I bumped into Denis on Fulton Street back in the summer of 2001, we said hello and swapped cards. We were going to get together for lunch, I think of him often.... He was a good soul. God bless him and his family Michael
Michael M, Friend
Jan 20 2009 4:04PM
six years have gone by, and it still doesn't make sense, none of it. i think i know more about you now than i did before. our meetings were only once a year at the great family reunions. there i learned that you were a gentle and caring person. this shined through with your love and devotion to your mother. denis, i think of you this day, and every day. jim lavelle
jim lavelle, Family
Sep 11 2007 9:34AM
To Marie and the rest of Denis' family, I'd like to offer my condolences at the loss of your beloved brother. Having just spent the last 6 months taking care of my own mother, I have a new appreciation for the difficulties that role presents; Denis must have been a very special person indeed. I made the oak flag case which was sent to you in April of 2003. I hope that in some very small way it offered some help to your family. Having done that, and as a devoted Dittohead myself, I feel something of a connection to Denis. Rest assured, he isn't forgotten. Mike Fairleigh
Mike Fairleigh, Friend
Sep 29 2004 1:06PM
I have never experienced a loss of a loved one that was so unexpected and tragic. This experience has made me appreciate alot more in life and I have you, Denis to thank for that although I'd rather have you here with us now. You taught me about caring for others - you always looked after others before yourself. We all know that you are someplace very special watching over us. Matthew looks up to the sky and talks about Uncle Denis up in Heaven. We all miss you terribly and think about you often. Love, Kim, Mark, Matthew and Ashley
Kim Hanson, Family
Jun 9 2002 9:06PM
“A Freed Spirit” I was skating at Birch State Park in Fort Lauderdale one morning when summer vacation was over and the winter residents had not arrived yet. I virtually had the whole park to myself when something amazing happened. As I was skating under a thick canopy of trees a beautiful Osprey swooped down to my shoulder level and flew along side me keeping pace with me for a while. He picked up speed and landed on a branch up ahead where he seemed to be waiting for me. When I reached him he came down again and for a second time he flew along side me. It was incredible to share the road with such a beautiful creature. I had never experienced anything quite like this. Maybe he never saw a person on speed skates before but he really seemed to enjoy “racing” with me. As he pulled ahead he again landed on a tree branch and when I reached him I looked up at him and he looked down at me and he watched me skate away. I had seen Osprey soaring high in the sky before but never flying under the canopy. As I kept skating something came over me. You see, I just lost my brother Denis in the World Trade Center attack. My brother knew my love for nature and for speed skating and I somehow felt this was his way of letting me know that he is alright and to keep on skating. In memory of Denis Lavelle WTC 9/11/2001 Kathy Palacio Lavelle
Kathy Palacio, Family
May 14 2002 8:46AM
Uncle Denis...we miss you so much. We think of you all of the time, and know that you must be watching down on all of us, otherwise we would never get through the hurt and the pain this has caused. Even though you are not physically here, we know that you are with us in gatherings just aren't the same without you!!!! Love, Tara and Larry
Tara Caloia-Moccia, Family
May 6 2002 9:05PM
I miss you. Mom misses you. We all miss you.
Marie Lavelle Paprocki, Family
May 4 2002 7:45PM
There's a hole in the heart of our family and we ache with missing you, but your warm smile and caring ways will remain with us always.
Barbara Lavelle Dziadek, Family
May 2 2002 8:36AM
I worked with Denis at the 1WTC on the 94th Floor. He was always so pleasant and had a kind word for each one. I wish his family God's richest blessings. Pauline McCammon
Pauline McCammon, Colleague
Apr 22 2002 1:34PM