March 9, 2003

Francis Esposito: Rascal With a Harley

Francis Esposito was a rookie firefighter with a passion for playing pool with his brothers and father, taking his boat out for a spin and riding his meticulously-kept midnight-blue Harley-Davidson with the fringe and saddlebags, said his cousin Catherine McKeever.

Before joining the Fire Department, he was a taper, putting up wallboard, and excelled at that job, she said.

Firefighter Esposito, 32, of Tottenville, Staten Island, went by Frankie, and his older brother decided to name his first child that. It didn't matter that his first child was a girl. "She loves it," said Ms. McKeever, who knows young Frankie idolized her uncle. "She loved him so much. The name just fits her," she said.

She remembers family gatherings when she and her cousins were younger. "Frankie would be like a little rascal, always in the midst of trouble with his brothers," said Ms. McKeever, who lost another cousin, Lt. Michael Esposito, at the trade center. "Wherever there was trouble, they were there." She remembers them throwing clothes out the window, and throwing their little brother down the laundry chute.

"They grew up, but they never changed," she said. "They were too much; they were all comedians."