Project 2996: David E. Retik Remembered – American Airlines Flight 11

On September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 left Boston Massachusetts on its way to Los Angeles. The Boeing 767 carried 81 passengers, nine flight attendants and two pilots. The hi-jacked plane crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center at 8:45 a.m. ET. Among the passengers was David E. Retik, 33 years old from Needham, Massachusetts, a general partner in Alta Communications. He was the husband of Susan, and father of Ben and Molly. Ben would be about 15 today and Molly about 13. Ben was traveling with another employee of Alta Communications, Christopher D. Mello, 25 years old on that day. Retik’s third child, a girl, was due less than two months after his death.

David Retik and Chris Mello

They were venture capitalists, part of the high-flying new economy. Christopher Mello, 25, was an analyst, and he rarely flew to meet a potential client. David Retik, 33, hated being away from his family–a son, a daughter, a pregnant wife–but he was a partner in Alta Communications, and he traveled regularly.

On Tuesday morning, Retik was running late. He drove to the airport on the Massachusetts Turnpike. His father, Dr. Alan Retik, was driving to work at the same time, and he was annoyed by a car driving near him–speeding up, slowing down, whipping over to the side. Then he realized his son, a notorious joker, was driving. They laughed and waved at each other.

Once he parked, David Retik ran through the airport, trying to meet Mello and catch Flight 11. His wife, Susan, whose third child is due in November, called him on his cellular phone. He said he was late, and that she should give his love to the kids, and they hung up, said Saul Zalesne, Susan Retik’s father.

“What a waste of a human being,” Zalesne said on Thursday from Retik’s home in Needham, Mass. “I’m standing here now wearing his Birkenstocks. I’m wearing his shoes. I had to do it. He was such a good boy.” Source: Chicago Tribune

David Retik

David graduated Colgate College, where he met Susan in their freshman year. He was a varsity soccer player. Friends and co-workers say David was always cheering-up the people around him.

Susan Retik had a baby girl, and with another pregnant widow of 9/11, Patti Quigley, went on to devote her life to helping widows in Afghanistan. Retik and Quigley were the principle figures in the documentary Beyond 9/11, also known as Beyond Belief.

Other Project 2996 Remembrances:

Project 2996: Robin Kaplan Remembrance – American Airlines Flight 11

Project 2996: Laurie Ann Neira Remembrance – American Airlines Flight 11