William Peterson

Family Tribute:Billy grew up in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and was the youngest of three children. Following his older brother, Bobby, he attended Poly Prep., graduating with the class of 1972. After high school, Billy attended Tufts University in Boston. He majored in Economics, graduating in 1976 with a Bachelor’s Degree. Over the next few years, he attended POH’s Institute and the College of Insurance for additional courses in Business Insurance and Law.

Billy began his employment at Blue Cross Blue Shield in 1978 as a Work Standard Analyst. The following year he went to work for the Liberty Mutual Insurance Company where he remained as a Claims Adjuster until 1984. In 1985, Guy Carpenter & Company offered him a position as a Reinsurance Claims Broker. He remained with Marsh & McLennan for the next 14 years, most recently working as a Claims Examiner with Excess & Treaty Management Corporation, a Marsh & McLennan subsidiary. His office was on the 94th floor of Tower One of the World Trade Center.

Billy was not defined by work alone. Although he was a perfectionist and meticulous in his undertaking of projects at work, it was what he did on his time off that more accurately defined him.

Billy’s all-time favorite pastime was to take his boat out to Jamaica Bay and fish. He rarely came back empty-handed. He enjoyed cooking for family and friends and could be found barbecuing all year long. To keep fit, he converted his basement into a gym and was also active on a night volleyball league leading them to the championship this past summer. Billy had a natural talent for photography, preferring nature as his subject. His spectacular sunsets and rainbows grace many a neighbor’s home in Breezy Point.

Two years ago when two other Poly graduates moved to his block, he was very happy. He thought it was the greatest thing to be reunited with his old buddies. He kept saying, very seriously, “We should rename this block “Poly Lane.’” Billy held many fond memories of his days at Poly and shared them often. He kept mementos of those early years throughout his adult life. He kept football schedules, yearbooks, and his #33 jersey all tucked in his closet.

Billy enjoyed the simple pleasures the most. Walks on the beach, long talks with friends, entertaining his Dad and friends in Naples, Florida, and cuddling with the cats were among his favorites. He had a wonderful sense of humor, an outgoing personality, and an infectious smile. When he made a friend – it was for life.

Billy’s cheerful disposition and easy-going manner are the things that he will be most remembered for. His neighbors secretly referred to him as “The Mayor” and “The Welcoming Committee.” He was definitely the glue that bound many lifelong relationships.

He Savored Simple Life Fishing in Jamaica Bay

William Russell Peterson and his wife, Robin, lived a simple life. They didn't believe in owning a computer or an answering machine. And if their remote control was missing? Oh well.

They preferred the simpler pleasures. The times they glided across the waters of Jamaica Bay in their 14-foot boat are still vivid memories for Robin Peterson. A self-proclaimed city girl, she never pictured herself hooking bait or casting a line before she met her husband in 1994. 'The first time we went fishing together was an experience,' she said. 'I took to it, though. It was something we really enjoyed doing together.'

On the evening of Sept. 10, she arrived at their Breezy Point home from work sometime between 6 and 6:30 p.m. Her husband and a few of his friends had cast their lines into Jamaica Bay hoping to sneak in a few hours of night fishing before dinner. He returned home with his healthy share of bluefish and bass, and the couple spent two hours cleaning his bounty. They had a 'leisurely fish dinner' at 9:30 p.m. and turned in an hour later.

The next morning, Peterson, 46, and his wife had coffee together before he left for work. 'He liked his coffee dark with no sugar,' she said. 'Dark and strong for the ride to work.'

The claims examiner for Marsh & McLennan drove his car to the Rockaway Park subway station and caught the A train to Chambers Street, a few blocks from his office on the 94th floor of Tower One. He is presumed dead in the terrorist attacks.

Born in Bay Ridge, Peterson graduated from Poly Prep Country Day School there in 1972 and earned his bachelor's degree in economics from Tufts University in Massachusetts in 1976. He worked at the Manhattan offices of Blue Cross Blue Shield before joining the Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. in Lake Success. After several years there, he was courted and hired by Guy Carpenter and Co., a division of Marsh&McLennan.; He joined its parent company 14 years ago.

Peterson's family made trips from Bay Ridge to their summer home in Breezy Point when he was a boy, his wife said. It was there that he forged lifelong friendships and began to see the value of life in the quaint Queens hamlet, where he and his wife eventually settled.

'He liked the small-town feel in Breezy Point,' she said. Trips to the corner store for a gallon of milk would take an hour 'because he'd bump into someone he knew.'

And at home, whenever her loquacious husband had a look on his face as if he were trying to remember something he shouldn't have forgotten, she had to remind him 'that he was trying to figure out who to call.' He laughed at that, knowing she hit the nail right on the head.

'He loved talking on the phone,' she said. 'He'd call me three or four times every day. Sometimes he'd talk to my co-workers for five or 10 minutes before I even knew it was him that called.'

In addition to his wife, Peterson is survived by his father, Robert, of Naples, Fla.; a brother, Robert, of Pembrook, Fla.; and a sister, Dianne Hudder of Miami.

'I'm very happy we shared our time on such a personal level,' his wife said. 'He was my best friend. Everything we did, we did together.'

(c) 2001 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.www.newsday.com

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My cousins and I lived in Breezy Point every summer. My cousins lived in Bay Ridge Brooklyn. They were friendly with Billy. I would see him with his friend Mike all the time. Billy was extremely good looking. I had no idea he was killed on 911. I just came across a picture of him with Mike and I from 1970. What a horrible loss. Wish I could post the picture I have...
Jacqueline S., Friend
Aug 31 2023 4:14PM
I was a stranger to Bill, just meeting him here for the first time. From the tributes left before me, he sounds like he was a great guy that everyone was enriched by knowing. To all that loved and remember him, my sincerest condolences. America will never forget you.
Leslie Honcharik, Friend
Sep 16 2022 3:14PM
Billy was married to my sister Missy "Gracemarie" I had so many fond memories of Billy I would spend weekends with them and we would take walks on the beach. I think of Billy a lot and he's always in my families prayers🙏
Kristine Spry Blume, Family
Sep 11 2021 3:31PM
Thank you for being a good friend ! Without your help I would not be the person I am today. Thank you for showing me a different path in life ...... we miss you .... we will miss you always
John O'Donnell, Friend
Sep 12 2021 0:38AM
Robin,Bobby,Diane & Mr. Peterson,I pay tribute to one of the all time greats. My time at Poly Prep afforded me an opportunity to know Billy as a FB team mate and friend. I'll always hold him with great admiration, fondness and respect. My entire family has mourned him since his tradgic passing. Just like brother Bobby, #33 will always be remembered as a great athlete and very tough FB player. For the many Poly boys who loved Billy, he will continue to live live in our hearts. May GOD Bless our dear friend W.R.P. ,#33. P.J.
P.J. Iracane, Friend
Jul 22 2020 9:41PM
Today I visited the 9/11 memorial with my daughter, as we walked around looking at the names, yours jumped out at us. We went across the road to get a rose and left it by your name for you and all of the other victims. Never forgotten x
Deborah Russell, Friend
Sep 10 2019 1:32AM
While just watching the names of the victims of 9/11 being read by family members I saw Bill's name read and literally jumped off of my couch. 16 years and I didn't know Bill had passed on this terrible day. I immediately checked my phone and it turns out it is in fact that super friendly, funny and kind gentleman I worked with for a couple of years at Guy Carpenter. I had been told everyone from Guy Carpenter made it to safety but wasn't aware Bill changed companies. To put Bill's character in perspective , I was but a temp working there at the time. Just trying to get my feet wet in the real world. And when I left to venture out into new things Bill gave me a card that said "A job worth doing is a job worth doing well. And that's exactly what you did." He wrote a very kindly worded note inside and I still have the card to this day. It was such a nice gesture and I've never forgotten it and won't ever forget him. Somehow this day actually has now gotten sadder. Rest In Peace Bill.
Jason McGinley, Colleague
Sep 11 2017 11:44AM
To his wife and family, my sincerest condolences. Bill and I worked on a project for nearly two years and spent countless hours on the phone and exchanging e-mails. I also had the pleasure of meeting Bill just one year before September 11th. Thank you for this tribute.
Justin, Colleague
Sep 22 2016 5:05PM
My sincere condolences to the Peterson family and friends. I can recall being in grade school with an adorable little boy called Billy who had twinkling eyes and an impish but kind smile. He was always so bright and friendly and a pleasure to be around. I'm sure he grew into a fine young man and I'm so sorry he is gone.
Pam, Colleague
Sep 11 2014 5:22PM
Bill or as I knew you, 'CDR Olive', I have thought of you often and the unfairness of those horrific events on 9/11. For an unkown reason, I felt particularly keen about your loss today and found this site. You and I were confirmed together at Union Church, graduated together from Poly and spent several memorable summers in the 'employment' of BPSC. And there were also those basketball games at dusk in the FH park. There are many enjoyable memories that accompany what appears to have passed in a blink. Importantly, I remember your integrity, even at what seems to be too young an age to be courageous. You inspired a clear understanding about strenght of spirit when it came to challenges that sometimes seem overwhelming to the average teenager I was. I have always remembered those conversations and hold them close. I was deeply touched by the generosity of the BP community and their donation of a granite plaque -now front and center on the parade deck in Bagram, AFG. It was a huge supprise to come upon it while serving in theatre. The inscription immdediately reminded me of your loss. There is never a point when your loss can be smoothly blended into the fabrick of my life, but I hope your family derives continued strength from the many kind comments I have read as well as the few I humbly offer. Your friend, Bruce
Bruce Doll, Friend
May 17 2014 7:10PM
Dear Bill,We shall never forget you, your smile, your voice and your laugh. We shall keep this day as a sacred remembrance of you and what we lost in a moment.We carry on but we never leave you behind. Thank you for helping us daily to carry the tears and the sadness in our hearts but still to move forward with strength and determination. God Bless You and your family today and always. Patricia & Charles Barraza
Patricia Barraza, Colleague
Sep 11 2012 10:39AM
Seasons change, time passes but what remains the same is your imprint on our hearts. Your smile, your face, your stories & jokes are forever ours. Rest in peace and may God Bless you and your family today on the 10th anniversary of that terrible morning. We miss you and we are better for having known you. We remember you today and always...
Patricia Barraza, Colleague
Sep 11 2011 12:12PM
Today, a day very much like that Tuesday nine years ago we are remembering you with love. Keeping your memory forever in our hearts and praying for you, your family and friends. Patricia and Charles Barraza
Patricia Barraza, Colleague
Sep 11 2010 12:48PM
It has been eight years today and I miss you more than ever. You always made me laugh and were the best listener ever. I'm so sorry you had to go through this but I know you are somewhere safe and protected now and forever. Love Mickey
Mickey Peterson, Family
Sep 11 2009 12:05PM
Dear Uncle Billy, This day, or any day, doesn't get any easier without you. Not a day goes by that your face doesn't cross my mind. My mom always tells me the funny stories of you and how you used to make her laugh like crazy. I remember you used to try and trick me whenever you called me on the phone and try to make me think it was my dad calling. I miss you and love you very much. Erin
Erin Peterson-Barroso, Family
Sep 11 2009 9:46AM
Eight years down the road and you still shine on in the memories of your family and friends. Not a day goes by that you and I are not together in some distant but fond memory of our days together. Your brother - Bobby
Robert M Peterson, Family
Sep 11 2009 9:07AM
Bill, Remembering you on this sad anniversary. God Bless you and your family today and always. Pat
Patricia Barraza, Colleague
Sep 11 2008 10:02AM
Billy, I still can't believe it and it's going to take a lifetime to accept. I MISS YOU and all the 'scutching' we would do. I wish I could've come out with you and Patty on your boat, but was always afaid you'd thow me in, HA HA. If ever I had a brother, it was you. I Love You, Phyllis
Phyllis LiBretti, Friend
Oct 15 2007 12:39PM
I had the pleasure of being a co-worker of Bill's in the 1980s when I also worked for Guy Carpenter. Actually Bill sat right across from me. We took breaks together where he would tell me stories about his fishing and sometimes at lunch time we went to hear some of the free concerts in the Plaza. I found Bill to be serious when it came to work but on the outside he had a funny personality and that is something that I will always remember about him. He was the kind of guy that was 'what you see is what you get', he was just a fun loving down to earth person and I am glad to say that he I knew him!
Gail Czerepinski, Colleague
Sep 10 2007 3:17PM
It's been five years now but every day has been 911 for us. I know you were probably about to call me at work to tell me about your fishing the night before as you had just got off the phone with dad. I am still waiting for the phone to ring. Your nieces, Erin and Lauren, love you and think about you all the time as does Mickey who will always have a special place in her heart for you. She has helped me through this and remains my wife and best friend. I love you Billy. Say hi to mom. Your brother, Bobby
Robert Michael Peterson, Family
Sep 11 2006 4:27PM
I was given your name randomly today at UT Tyler, each student assigned an individual life lost on September 11, 2001. I never knew you, but now I have an idea of who you were. To Bill's family and friends, I will be praying for you because I know the pain of a lost loved one never really disappears. May God Bless you and keep you, and know that Bill's memory is still enduring.
Jamie Sibley, Friend
Sep 11 2006 2:28PM
More than a moment of silence, on this day and everyday may we use our lives to honor and respectfully remember you. With careful consideration we continue on where you could have gone, good left undone, countless gifts not given. We will not fail; we will not forget you, our precious family, our dear friend, our inspiration. Patricia & Charles Barraza
Patricia Barraza, Colleague
Sep 11 2005 7:27AM
With a terrible sadness we mark this day, the third anniversary of the morning we lost each of you. In the end it is only a marker. The grief, sorrow and the incredible possibilities that we lost in those horrific moments remain with us every day. We weep, no, sob from a place deep, deep inside that has been left empty by your absence. And we pray, for you, your families, your friends, and your colleagues. And for ourselves may God give us the strength to go forward and honor you with our lives. We will never forget you. Patricia Barraza
Pat Barraza, Colleague
Sep 11 2004 9:43PM
Our time together as brothers now seems too short but the memories will last forever. Bobby
Robert M Peterson, Family
Aug 17 2004 8:55AM
Billy you are very missed. Im so glad you had such great happiness with Robin. I wish I could have had more time - to see you and talk to you - Although we hadnt sen each other in years after we divorced - I will always have you in my heart. You were a wonderful loving man - I know you are at peace. I think of you and Bobby and Mickey and Diane and all the kids. Especially Dad, he was always wonderful to me. Love and Miss you. Gracemarie
Gracemarie De Carli, Family
Jun 22 2004 10:12AM
Remembering - I wanted to write to say we remember you and think of you as we go on. We miss your being, but feel your presence. I believe that your spirit is our angel watching over us in a dangerous world. Remembering you keeps you with us and brings us peace in turmoil. In this season of renewal and everyday since we “lost” you we keep you and your loved ones in our thoughts and prayers. Peace to you.
Pat Barraza, Colleague
Apr 2 2004 1:36PM
We are reminded daily of how much we lost that terrible day. Bill your smile and great attitude were so uplifting. You are missed. We keep you and your family in our thoughts and pryaers. Pat Barraza
Patricia Barraza, Colleague
Sep 12 2003 3:01PM
As Marsh plans to dedicate the memorial at 1166, my thoughts again turn to Bill and his family. I think of him every day. We knew each other since Liberty Mutual days in the 1980's. When my father died in 1995, Bill gave me an inspirational book that he signed for me. I will treasure it always. Weeks before the tragedy, Bill asked me to join him for lunch. I 'took a rain check' so I could do some shopping. We never had the chance again. Bill, you re-iterated to me by your example what was really important about life: God, Family, & Friends. I will never forget you. God bless you, your Dad, and your wife, Robin.
Roderick Andersson, Colleague
Jul 14 2003 11:36AM
I had the pleasure of working with many wonderful people at Guy Carpenter and one of them was Bill. How I remembered Bill: It was the way he always had a smile, always felt happy. When he would go down to Florida to visit his parents he would always come back and show me photos of the ocean, so happy like a child - that is one thing I really remembered Bill - - the love for the ocean. I also remembered how Bill used to always invite my husband and I to go fishing on his boat with his wife Robin. I used to always say no - - how I regret that now. He was a really nice man. Bill, I will always remember you and keep your memories deep in my heart. You are greatly missed. Yolanda
Yolanda Castillo, Colleague
Sep 11 2002 10:35AM