To read friends and family members describe Todd Rancke, it’s no surprise that it was joked he would be the future mayor of his hometown of Summit, New Jersey. The father of three was on the 104th floor of the second tower on September 11th, 2001. He had called his wife at 8:45am upon getting to his office at Sandler O’Neill and Partners, as he did daily, to wish her and his children a good day when the first tower was struck. That phone call was the last they heard of him.
While he apparently had plenty of time to make it to safety, those close to him speculate that he stayed behind to help others – that was just the kind of person he was. He was so well loved in his town, seemingly knowing almost everyone and attending the same church weekly he had since childhood.
Todd met his future wife Debbie when he was attending Duke University and she a nearby Carolina college. A brother of Phi Delta Theta, Todd was intelligent, warm and full of life. They got married years later in the chapel at Duke, were huge supporters of Duke basketball, and were part of a community there that miss him very much.
Todd’s love and devotion to his family, his excitement for life, his strong family values and his belief in the good in people permeate through memorials and articles that followed after his death. Many friends remark how jovial he was, always able to make someone laugh at themselves in the most friendly of ways. He raised his children to work hard and embrace athletics. He was the all-American boy.
After the towers collapsed and Todd was missing, family and friends searched the island for him, going to makeshift morgues and hospitals. But as the hours and days stretched on, they knew they had lost him. This warm, loving man touched so many, and I’m sure the goodness and peace he brought to others will be remembered in his wife, his children, and those who love him.
This tribute was written for a collection of tributes on Project 2996. To read my initial post on this organization and to donate to The Feel Good Foundation, an advocacy group for first responders affected by serving on September 11th, please CLICK HERE.
Several articles and online memorial links are below, and if you’d like to contribute to the A. Todd Rancke Memorial Fund, you can do so by writing the Hilltop Community Bank, P. O. Box 800, Summit, N.J., 07902-0800.
- Phi Delta Theta Memorial
- CNN Memorial
- New York Times Portrait
- Lubbock Avalanche Journal
- Legacy.com Guest Book