11 September 2006

Dinah Webster: A Tribute

Nobody needs to remind you that today is the fifth anniversary of the World Trade Center attack, the crash of Flight 93, the attack on the Pentagon. Each one of us can still describe, to the tiniest detail, where we were when we first heard about it and how we spent that day in fear, afraid to step away from the news coverage, heartbroken over the losses. But let’s not focus on fear and anger today. Let’s instead remember and honor and love those 2,996 men and women lost — whether we knew them or not.

Today I honor Dinah Webster, a beautiful woman beginning a new phase of her life. I never met Dinah, but I feel a kinship with her. I’m close to her age, and my life is experiencing similar change, new beginnings. From what I’ve learned, she’s the type of woman I would have enjoyed sharing laughs and memories and dreams over a glass of wine. I’m sad that I know her only after the fact.

Dinah spent her last hours at Windows of the World, on the top floor of the North Tower. She and several of her Risk Waters Group coworkers — including her fiancé, Neil Cudmore — were attending the Waters Financial Technology Congress, hosted by her company. The meeting began minutes before American Airline Flight 11 crashed into the floors below them. The president of Risk Waters shared his memories of that day one year later.

I watched a Discovery channel special on the World Trade Center attacks last weekend. One of the vignettes was on Windows of the World, with reenactments depicting what the conference attendees went through — fear, confusion, sadness. It was that vignette that most affected me. Dinah Webster was assigned to me the next day. I’m glad I saw the program so that I could understand her final hours.

The recently engaged Dinah and Neil (weren't they a lovely couple?) had transferred to New York City after working together in Hong Kong. Dinah was with Risk Waters longer than anyone, joining their London office in 1989, transferring to Hong Kong in 1995, and moving to New York in 2000. She was the advertising manager at the time of her death.

According to a tribute to her on the Risk Waters site:
The one virtue almost every client mentioned was her professionalism. She was successful in what she did because she made clients feel at ease. They enjoyed meeting her and many of them became her friends. Dinah was always willing to take on anything asked of her and go anywhere on business she was asked to go. She took everything in her stride and never got flustered, even during organisational or travel crises that would have taxed the resources of the United Nations. Dinah could be stubborn but you could never get upset with her, said a former colleague, who also recalled that Dinah brought a touch of glamour and class to the office.

But her life wasn’t just about her work. Over and again friends mentioned her zest for life, her elegance, her thoughtfulness, her meringue-topped mincemeat pies she served with champagne.

According to friend Peter Skipp:
Dinah was a wonderful, lively, breezy, feisty lady. Never a bore, never even a suggestion of fatigue! Very British and upright. I remember her once coming to the office after her flight from America had been delayed. Short of change, she had borrowed a 50 pence piece from someone at the airport to ring-in and apologised for being late (this was before mobiles, of course)! Her first job in the office? To tape a 50p coin to a piece of card, write a nice 'thank you' note and mail it back to whoever had lent it to her! I also remember once furiously beating egg whites with her so she could make us all a strawberry Pavlova on impulse. Dinah had served as a stewardess with Monarch Airlines way back, and I remember being slightly awed by her because of that.

After a year in Manhattan, Dinah and Neil purchased a home on Long Island, and they were planning to adopt a child. As friend William Rhode wrote in an online tribute, they were putting down roots and finally settling down. “Neil was applying what he wanted for his life to his life. He and Dinah really knew how to live passionately, especially in their love for each other.”

Dinah and Neil’s new home was in Port Washington, on the north shore of Long Island, supposedly the real-life version of East Egg Village in The Great Gatsby. How fitting that Dinah lived happily amid the elegance we imagined for Daisy Buchanan. At that home she loved gardening and being with Neil.

Another friend, identified only as J, posted her photo I’ve used here, and wrote:
I took the photo of Dinah that sits above these tributes. It was taken in Hong Kong on one of our many nights out. We worked there together in 2000, a time I remember fondly for her and Neil Cudmore's hospitality. They were truly together wherever they travelled. They lived for each other. That they died together, horrific as it is, was fitting. Dinah was a beautiful, vibrant lady — a real touch of old-fashioned class that so many people these days could have learned from.

There’s a bench dedicated to Dinah and Neil in the graveyard of the Dorset, England, village where Neil owned a home. Dinah’s parents held a memorial and thanksgiving service for the couple in the U.K. one month after they died.

Dinah and Neil are remembered and loved daily by the friends and family they left behind.

Dinah Webster was memorialized on The United in Memory 9/11 Victims Memorial Quilt:


To you, Dinah, my respect and remembrance. To your family and friends, my thoughts and prayers.

If you knew Dinah or Neil and have a story to share or a fact to correct, please e-mail me at cup_coffey@yahoo.com.

Labels:

74 Comments:

At 9/11/2006 12:19:00 AM, Blogger Heather said...

Wow Beth, Thank you so much for sharing Dinah with us.

 
At 9/11/2006 12:30:00 AM, Blogger barista brat said...

thank you for your beautiful post.

 
At 9/11/2006 01:03:00 AM, Blogger Karmyn R said...

I'm trying to read all 2996 tributes and am about to 50 - it just keeps getting harder. Well written, thank you!

 
At 9/11/2006 01:38:00 AM, Blogger mellowlee said...

Lovely post Beth. Thanks.

 
At 9/11/2006 01:44:00 AM, Blogger Ben said...

Beth,
You've done a wonderful job in making Dinah's tribute so personal. But then I didn't expect anything less from you. It's amazing how doing the tributes to the individual victims you feel that they have touched your heart and soul.

To Dinah's family, my best thoughts and best wishes go to you

 
At 9/11/2006 02:25:00 AM, Blogger Justice Montgomery said...

My deepest sympathies go out to their families....

Blessings,
Justice

In Memory of Edward York
Remembering Vincent

 
At 9/11/2006 03:24:00 AM, Anonymous Jay T. said...

Very nice tribute. I posted mine about Harry Ramos and have been reading others ever since.

A Tribute to Harry Ramos, who died comforting a complete stranger is here:

http://www.buygilberthomes.com/?p=128

 
At 9/11/2006 03:32:00 AM, Blogger David said...

Dinah and Neil. RIP
Beth, I am so proud to be part of this project with people like you.
here we are remembering each one, and praying for their families. God Bless you and all the 2996ers for your efforts here. We will never forget!

 
At 9/11/2006 04:22:00 AM, Anonymous Chi said...

Thank you so much for this heart-warming tribute and for sharing so much of Dinah's life with us.

 
At 9/11/2006 05:18:00 AM, Blogger Tara said...

Thankyou for sharing some of Dinah's life with us. She sounds like the kind of lady I would have gotten along with very well.

My tribute can be found at http://retardedrugrat.wordpress.com

 
At 9/11/2006 05:31:00 AM, Blogger keda said...

sniff.. sigh..

what a beautiful tribute. whipping merangues.. my kinda lady. thank you for introducing her to us.

and thank you for reading about eric at mine.
such a sad day.

 
At 9/11/2006 06:52:00 AM, Blogger bernie said...

Beautiful tribute to amazing people. It's so hard to keep reading.

Thanks for stopping by mine.

I linked to your tribute from 2996 tribute to victims of 9/11 - Terrence E Adderley

 
At 9/11/2006 07:19:00 AM, Blogger brian said...

Thank you for sharing this post about a wonderful and giving woman who lived for others. Lovely tribute.

Thank you also for stopping by my tribute for Gilbert and leaving your comment.

 
At 9/11/2006 07:31:00 AM, Blogger Marni said...

Beautiful... I am heartbroken that so many wonderful people are no longer with us. I don't know if I can read all of the tributes, but I am going to try as many as I can.

Thank you!

 
At 9/11/2006 07:38:00 AM, Blogger Dale said...

Beth, thanks for putting together such a moving tribute to Dinah and Neil. They sound like what you sound like to me - good people.

 
At 9/11/2006 08:14:00 AM, Blogger Coaster Punchman said...

Beth, you did a great job with this. It was a difficult task, but I'm certain that any of Dinah's friends and loved ones that find and read the post will take some small comfort in it.

In peace,
CP

 
At 9/11/2006 08:14:00 AM, Blogger Carmen said...

So many lives affected. Thanks for a well-written and moving tribute

 
At 9/11/2006 09:07:00 AM, Anonymous Kiki said...

Thank you so mcuh for sharing Dinah with us. My heart breaks for all that could have been for these people.

 
At 9/11/2006 09:13:00 AM, Blogger Pentha said...

Thank you. The sorrow seems bottomless at times. Reading these stories make it all so real.

Sigh....

Tribute to Christopher Paul Slattery

 
At 9/11/2006 09:32:00 AM, Anonymous Lisa said...

What a lovely and well-written tribute. I feel as if I know Diana now. So sad and touching on this somber day.

 
At 9/11/2006 09:37:00 AM, Blogger Jem said...

Dinah sounded like she was an amazing lady. Thanks for writing that.

 
At 9/11/2006 09:57:00 AM, Blogger CA said...

WQonderful memorial! We shall not forget! Jim

 
At 9/11/2006 10:05:00 AM, Blogger OnMyWatch said...

Thank you for sharing this. What an admirable and honorable thing to do for Dinah and her family.

(salute)

 
At 9/11/2006 10:21:00 AM, Anonymous FrogQueen said...

Thank you so much for your tribute. This project is a wonderful way of honoring those who lost their lives that day. Your post certainly is a great honor for her!

Today I honor Vincent D. Kane

 
At 9/11/2006 10:42:00 AM, Blogger Coffeypot said...

Great memorial, Beth. It's hard to believe that there are almost 3,000 more like it. I cannot read all the memorials. Emotionally I couldn't take reading about each individual - eventhough I feel sadness, anger and pride for all the men and women involved that day. Thank you for the time and effort you put forth. And thank you for the email, too.

 
At 9/11/2006 10:43:00 AM, Blogger Old Lady said...

Beautiful!

 
At 9/11/2006 10:44:00 AM, Blogger Wordnerd said...

Beautiful and moving tribute. You honor her memory with your words.

I am honored as well to have paid tribute to Vincent DiFazio at my site. Thanks for joining us.

http://doihavetocallitablog.blogspot.com/2006/09/remembering-2996.html

 
At 9/11/2006 10:48:00 AM, Anonymous Mrsk said...

Beth, Thank you

 
At 9/11/2006 11:02:00 AM, Blogger Rayne said...

You have written a wonderful and strong memorial. Thank you for helping us remember Dinah.
My tribute is to Robert J. DeAngelis.

 
At 9/11/2006 12:00:00 PM, Blogger ♥ joleen ♥ said...

Thank you for a beautiful tribute.

 
At 9/11/2006 12:04:00 PM, Blogger Raggedy said...

Wonderful Tribute!
Thank you.
These are sad and hard to read....
I am honored to be a part of this project.
Mine is posted also...

The 2996 link is down. I have a new link on my site to view the participants.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort,
but where he stands at times of challenge
and controversy. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bless you...

 
At 9/11/2006 12:43:00 PM, Blogger bigshoulders said...

thanks for such a heartfelt tribute, Beth. you honor her memory w/ your words.

b.s.

 
At 9/11/2006 12:59:00 PM, Blogger Kelly said...

You did an outstanding job to honor this great American.

 
At 9/11/2006 01:14:00 PM, Blogger Katherine said...

That was a really moving tribute. Thanks for stopping by my tribute to Marjorie C. Salamone.

 
At 9/11/2006 01:15:00 PM, Blogger DEBRA said...

I am struck by the fact that each of us in our own way has been attached to the person we were given to write about. I am struck with how much I would have enjoyed knowing each of the people I have had the honor of reading about. Thank you for bringing Dinah back to life. You wrote a very moving memorial.

Please stop by and visit, my tribute for Durrell Pearsall is up.

 
At 9/11/2006 01:25:00 PM, Blogger Canadi-anna said...

You've done an excellent job with this tribute.

 
At 9/11/2006 01:34:00 PM, Blogger Anomie-Atlanta said...

Excellent tribute. I hope Dinah and Neil were able to comfort each other in their last moments.

 
At 9/11/2006 01:35:00 PM, Anonymous Teena said...

What a lovely tribute! Thank you for honouring Dinah and Neil.

Mine's up.

 
At 9/11/2006 02:01:00 PM, Blogger Jen said...

Wow, you really helped me to understand her, and what she was like. A wonderful tribute.

I Remember Anna Williams Allison

 
At 9/11/2006 02:42:00 PM, Blogger Eagle Lover said...

You have done a wonderful tribute to Dinah. Beautiful.

 
At 9/11/2006 02:54:00 PM, Blogger Shannon said...

beautiful post...

 
At 9/11/2006 03:01:00 PM, Blogger bigger_Daddy said...

Thank you for your beautiful tribute to Dinah. How sad and wonderful that she and her fiance were together at the end.

I am proudly remembering Shawn Edward Bowman at the-looney-bin.blogspot.com

Erin (masquerading as Bigger_daddy)

 
At 9/11/2006 03:49:00 PM, Blogger Suzi said...

Thank you for introducing us to Dinah and to Neil. I'm sorry we can't meet them in real life. I am relieved that they went together, if I can be relieved about anything from that day.

I am sorry for their families, who are now without them. For their friends, who will never hear them laugh or see them smile, or whip eggs with them again. For the world, who doesn't get to know them because they are gone.

We must remember them. Every one of them.

I remember Laura Gilly.

 
At 9/11/2006 04:33:00 PM, Blogger Stefanie said...

Beautiful well researched tribute. Thank you for sharing that with everyone. Please go to my blog if you want to read about Rosemarie C. Carlton. A woman who was exactly my age when she died.

 
At 9/11/2006 04:50:00 PM, Blogger Jeremy said...

That was touching, Beth. I am quite proud of you for memorializing someone you never met. You did an excellent job and it sounds like the world could only have been a better place had Dinah and Neil been able to live their lives.

Thank you for sharing their lives with us.

 
At 9/11/2006 05:40:00 PM, Blogger kateandjona said...

Thank you for sharing your wonderful words.

Jonathon's Closet remembers Robert Levine.

 
At 9/11/2006 07:20:00 PM, Blogger sikamikanico said...

Thank you for sharing this lovely tribute, and for reading mine.

 
At 9/11/2006 07:40:00 PM, Blogger Biker Betty said...

A wonderful tribute on Dinah Webster. What a sad story about her and her fiance dieing in this senseless act of violence. Thank you for taking the time to do this tribute on a 9/11 Hero.

The 2,996 Tribute projects is such a great idea to remember those who lost their lives, that they won’t be forgotten. That was a horrible day and tragic event. I did a tribute to Chief Battalion William J. McGovern, firefighter.

 
At 9/11/2006 08:16:00 PM, Anonymous m said...

beautiful tribute, beth. i am sure dinah's and neil's love ones really appreciate your amazing words.

 
At 9/11/2006 08:38:00 PM, Blogger peppypilotgirl said...

A beautiful tribute. May Dinah's and Neil's family and friends know that you, and we all, are holding them in our hearts.

I remember Brooke David Rosenbaum.

 
At 9/11/2006 08:56:00 PM, Blogger Kirsten said...

wow...you truly did do an amazing job...thanks for the wonderful words...
Kirsten

I remember Vincent Cangelosi

 
At 9/11/2006 09:36:00 PM, Blogger Carl said...

Beth, thank you for doing such a wonderful job with this labor of love.

 
At 9/11/2006 09:48:00 PM, Anonymous InterstellarLass said...

She sounds just lovely.

I have remembered Laura Lee Morabito

 
At 9/11/2006 11:25:00 PM, Blogger Traci said...

Beautiful tribute! You captured her the way no one could. Thank you for that!

 
At 9/12/2006 12:21:00 AM, Blogger lulu said...

beautiful and sad.

thank you for sharing dinah with us today.

 
At 9/12/2006 01:03:00 AM, Blogger maggie said...

Thank you so much for adding Dinah Webster's voice to this beautiful (and very sad) project so that we could meet a real person behind those overwhelming numbers. Dinah does sound like someone that would be so wonderful to have known. Thank you for researching and sharing.

 
At 9/12/2006 07:41:00 AM, Blogger al said...

Beth,

Wonderful tribute.

Thanks for taking part in 2996 so that everyone can learn a little more about those who died on 9/11.

My tribute is to Kathy Bantis

 
At 9/12/2006 10:27:00 AM, Blogger Zelda said...

Thank you for your remembrance of this amazing lady. And thank you for stopping by to read about Eddie.

 
At 9/12/2006 04:46:00 PM, Blogger Kathie said...

I'm touched with the tribute you wrote for Dinah as well as her fiance, Neil. Thank you for sharing these people with us.

Also, thank you for stopping by to read my tribute to Juan Salas one of the staff at Windows on the World that fateful day.

 
At 9/12/2006 05:58:00 PM, Blogger Happy Mama to Three said...

That every name, every face, every soul, every heartbeat should be made one. In the face of the tragedy we all lived through, it is the only prayer I have. Your tribute brings one more name, one more face, one more soul, one more heartbeat into the circle, and we keep living, not inspite of 9/11, but because of those who gave all.

Thank you for your piece of the puzzle.

Cindi
I proudly honored Jay Robert Magazine and Mark Bingham on my blog.

 
At 9/12/2006 06:40:00 PM, Blogger max said...

Yes, I concentrated on the person too and not the fear and anger. It's a time for remembrance.

You did a wonderful tribute. Dinah was a lovely person.
I worked in HK in the year 2000. Of all the the world's cities I love HK theh best. Dinah reminds me of the city and my friends there. Thatt brings it home for me.



Thank you for stopping by to see my tribute.


max

Judith Ann Reese

 
At 9/12/2006 11:09:00 PM, Blogger Tish said...

Thank you for sharing Dinah's story. My thoughts and prayers go out to her friends and family.

I have honored Judson Cavalier.

 
At 9/12/2006 11:10:00 PM, Blogger Scone said...

What a lovely tribute to a lovely woman-- and a lovely couple as well. I'm glad that if they had to go, they went together.

 
At 9/13/2006 01:43:00 AM, Blogger The Wandering Author said...

Beth; that was beautiful. So many wonderful people died that day; thanks for letting me get to know one more.

 
At 9/13/2006 10:55:00 AM, Blogger Tammy said...

Beautiful tribute! I really felt like I got to know her through you. Well done!

 
At 9/13/2006 03:47:00 PM, Blogger Kristy said...

Wonderful tribute! Another life I got to know alittle bit about when reading through these tributes. I am touched and thank you for sharing with me about her!

 
At 9/13/2006 07:03:00 PM, Anonymous Guido said...

A great tribute to a great lady. Thank you very much

 
At 9/13/2006 11:55:00 PM, Blogger Julie said...

Beautifully done, and thanks for stopping to read and comment on my tribute to Phil Calcagno. I'm going to go find the tribute to Neil now.

 
At 9/14/2006 01:51:00 AM, Blogger gordaboo said...

Thank you for your tribute and for letting us put a face to a name.

We will never forget.

I remember Lisa Egan

 
At 9/16/2006 08:05:00 AM, Blogger Cathy said...

As I continue to slowly make my way through all the memorials I find myself so grateful for people like you, Beth.

It is apparent that you took time to get to know this lovely lady as much as possible. Dinah Webster was obviously vibrant and thoughtful and beautiful and someone we would all want to be close to. Thank you for such a heartfelt tribute.

I remember Marion Britton.

I will NEVER FORGET.

 
At 9/20/2006 10:19:00 AM, Blogger Brother Dom said...

This is very touching....Dinah was in fact an amazing lady. Both her and Neil were my very good friends here in Hong Kong. Life without their laughter and their love of life will never be the same. They touched the lives of everybody they met...

Our tribute to Dinah and Neil is our daughter - Audrey Dinah Powers

www.audreypowers.com

We will never, ever forget.
DxJx

 
At 9/23/2006 10:56:00 PM, Blogger butterflygirl said...

What a great tribute. Thanks for remembering.

 
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