When friends teased Frank Palombo about fathering 10 children, he would reply with a grin, "I want more."

Palombo, a deeply religious man, attended Cathedral Prep Seminary in Elmhurst, Queens, and was contemplating the priesthood, but he was too much in love with his friend Raymond's kid sister, Jean Marie Courtien, whom he had known as a child. The couple wed and settled in Brooklyn to raise a family while Palombo began a career with the New York Fire Department.

Though he loved his job, he was looking forward to retiring, said his wife's sister, Shelly Hogan of Brookville. Palombo, 46 and due to retire in January, was among six firefighters from Brooklyn Battalion 57 reported missing while rescuing survivors from the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Skilled with his hands, the Brooklyn-born firefighter was always making things for his home in Brooklyn's Park Slope section, Hogan said. He loved to cook for his family and to take his eight sons and two daughters to nearby Prospect Park to play football and other games. "He was always happy and always had children hanging from him," Hogan said. "He had a big heart."

Jean Marie Palombo and her children are finding solace by praying together every night, her sister said. The youngest child, Margaret Mary, will have her first birthday in eight days. The others are Anthony, 15, Frank Jr., 14, Joseph, 12, Maria, 11, Thomas, 9, John, 8, Patrick, 6, Daniel, 4, and Steven, 2.