Oct. 29, 2001

Peter Freund was getting ready for a new career teaching high school math. It was going to be a new life of summer vacations and regular schedules.

A 22-year veteran of the New York City Fire Department, Freund was with Engine 55 on Sept. 11. His was the third company to arrive at the World Trade Center. His body was recovered Oct. 21. Services will be held this week. "He loved his job. He loved being a fireman. He loved his family," said Robin Freund, his wife and high school sweetheart.

Freund, 45, grew up in Staten Island, N.Y., the oldest of four children. He was a high school football star before earning degrees in computer science and business at Brooklyn College.

Firefighting was his passion, though. "His father was a New York cop, and Peter wanted to serve the city the same way," said his cousin, Steven Orr of Carpentersville, Ill.

The Freunds moved to the lush farm country of upstate New York to raise their family.

And because Freund did 24-hour "tours," he didn't mind commuting nearly two hours to New York City twice a week. "When he was away, we'd talk on the phone at night so he could keep up with what the kids were doing."

When he was home, Freund was active in his children's lives, coaching their softball, baseball and football teams over the years. And because he knew the risks of his job, he was fond of family hugs.

A job in teaching was going to ease some of the stress, Robin said. "We were going to have summers off, holidays off," she said. "He just did one tour too many."

--Shia Kapos (Chicago Tribune)