Andrew Brunn: The Man in Flannel

He was a tremendous pile of a man, 6 foot 2 and heavyset. His flannel shirt was tucked in, clarifying his dimension, as he flailed wildly about the dance floor of the bar in Queens.

Andrew Brunn was celebrating his 23rd birthday that night five years ago. Sigalit Cohen watched him all evening; she had a thing for flannel. His uninhibited dancing sometimes frightened the girls away, but "Sigal actually stuck in there and danced with him," said Patrick Sullivan, a friend.

She got his number and soon made a husband of Mr. Brunn, an intensely private man. He did not bother to tell his buddies in the Air National Guard of his computer studies or even of his marriage. He made little mention of his move to the Fire Department from the Police Department.

But after Sigalit danced with him, Mr. Brunn opened his life to her, revealing his passion for the ocean and for lighthouses, for movies that seemed to reflect their own story. They worked through the clashes between his Catholicism and her Judaism. Mr. Brunn, a devoted surfer, even persuaded Sigalit, who nearly drowned as a child, to join him on a flimsy board.

"He said, `I'll be there with you; I'll hold you if you fall,' so I trusted him," Mrs. Brunn said. "And he did."