|(E) NYC Firefighter
|By Nenad N. Bach |
(E) NYC Firefighter
Story from the Feb. 5, 2002 edition of New York Newsday
about Lt. Anthony Jovic, a New York City firefighter and
Croatian American who died in the World Trade Center on
A Kidder Known for His Sharp Mind
By Elizabeth Moore
February 5, 2002
In those first weeks after Lt. Anthony Jovic disappeared
with other members of Engine Co. 279 at the World
Trade Center, his wife, Cynthia, concentrated on being
strong for his two boys, Matthew, 10, and Peter, 9. So
she had a little psychological trick she played on
herself to keep going.
"I'd say, ‘He's working today. He's going to come home
tonight,'” she recalled. "That night it would be, ‘OK,
he's working tonight, he's going to come home tomorrow.'
Every day I'd tell myself the same thing.”
It was because Cynthia Jovic can't imagine morning
coffee without her husband of 16 years, a big kidder
and hugger-and-kisser who never got through a day
without several times telling her and the boys he loved
The son of a Croatian longshoreman who grew up in
Hell's Kitchen, Jovic, 39, impressed all his friends as
being smart enough to win the big one on "Jeopardy!”
The couple met in Manhattan, when he was working at
a butcher shop on Ninth Avenue and she, also a
Croatian immigrant and longshoreman's daughter, was
working at a deli nearby. When a cousin suggested they
all go to an Irish pub in New Hyde Park, Jovic drove to
pick her up in Manhattan in the most formal manner,
allowing plenty of time to chat first with her mother and
father at the house. For her old-fashioned European
parents, his wife said, "it was love at first sight.”
For the couple, too. They married 2 1/2 years later.
Jovic joined the city fire department 12 years ago, about
the time the family moved from Elmhurst to Massapequa
Park. He was aiming high, and once he made lieutenant was
already spending every free day he could find to prepare
for the captain's exam, which he would have taken in
October. When not working or studying, it was miniature
golf, bowling, and lots of swimming with the family in
the backyard pool. They were so close, she could finish
his sentences for him.
"We were the happiest when we were together,” she said.
Cynthia Jovic was watching CNN on Sept. 11; she knew it
was bad, because her husband was working with the company
in Red Hook, Brooklyn, that day.
"When that tower came down, his soul went right through
me. I knew it then, he just went through me and I knew he
was gone,” she said. His burned and mangled shield turned
up in the south tower in November, shortly before a
memorial service was held, but no remains have been
The memory of that moment has become a source of warmth
and comfort lately, now that it's no longer possible for
her to pretend her husband is coming home tonight, or
tomorrow morning, or the next day. Now, Cynthia Jovic
knows, he's with her and the kids all the time.
"He always told me, ‘Every time they take an ID picture,
I try to look nice, because you never know when they
might be using it for a memorial.' I'll be honest with
you, I think he looks wonderful in the picture that they
have of him.”
Copyright © 2002, Newsday, Inc.
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