Joe Flounders '77 loved WTC

by Megh Duwadi | 11/8/01 6:00am

(Editor's note: This is the eighth in a series of articles profiling the Dartmouth victims of the Sept. 11 tragedy)

Joe Flounders '77 would travel any distance for the people he loved.

As his uncle, Burt Flounders '52 Tuck '53, struggled to combat a long battle with brain cancer in the late 1990s, Joe would often make the long trip at the day's end from his home in Brooklyn, N.Y., to Memorial Sloane-Kettering Cancer Center in the suburbs to pay him an impromptu visit.

"I'd walk in," said Jane Flounders, Burt's wife, "and there would be Joe."

A vice president and account handler at Euro Brokers, a trading firm specializing in European money markets, Flounders perished in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Flounders had been an employee at Euro Brokers for 15 years, a survivor of an earlier bomb attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.

Although reluctant to return to the office for weeks after the 1993 incident, "Joe overcame his fear because he loved [the Twin Towers] so much," Jane recalled. "He was so excited to show them to visitors."

Prior events affected Flounders' decisions on the 11th. When the first hijacked plane collided with the North Tower, he and his colleagues on the 84th floor of the South Tower acted without hesitation.

According to Jane, the seven men behind the desk began to make their way down dozens of staircases to the ground floor. With one person missing, Joe volunteered to return and ensure that everyone made it to safety.

His friends never saw him again.

After having seen the destruction on television, Jane called her nephew. He picked up the phone and gave an abrupt, anxious account of the situation.

The phone line went dead immediately as a second plane hurled into the building, and all contact was permanently lost.

A native of Stamford, Conn., Joe graduated from West Hill High School in 1973. He was the only child in a small, close-knit family.

"He was always the cool older cousin," said Jane's daughter, Mary Flounders Green '88 Tuck '95. Having grown up in the same neighborhood, she said she holds many fond memories of their youth.

"We picked wild raspberries in his backyard in the summer, and he always had baby mice around. I remember his old weaponry collection -- it was all pretty exotic for a little girl."

Of all his endeavors at Dartmouth, Joe spoke of his participation in a foreign study program in Mexico with the greatest pride and exhilaration.

"It was the best experience," Jane recalls him saying after the trip ended. Joe grew very attached to his host family and remained in close contact for several years after he graduated.

Upon leaving Dartmouth, Joe moved to an apartment in Brooklyn Heights overlooking the World Trade Center, in close proximity to his job at brokerage firm Mabon Nougent Godsell.

Frank Locascio, Joe's friend and colleague for 20 years, said that Joe "would do anything for his friends ... he lived a nice, simple life."

Fellow Euro Brokers employee Karl Kaess agreed. "Joe was a great guy," he said. "He was a very resourceful person and very conservative -- both politically and how he ran his life -- but that didn't stop him from getting along with anybody and everybody."

Locascio recalled, "He was always fun to go out with." Joe's favorite hangout was Fraunces Tavern, in close proximity to work.

"He loved animals," added Bill Taye, with whom he shared an office.

Green said, "He loved his dogs, Shih-Tzus I believe, like his children. Whenever he would come visit us in Stamford, he'd have those two crazy dogs, Fu and Suzy, with him."

In addition to his pets, Joe was deeply devoted to his wife of 21 years, Patricia. The couple had no children of their own.

A favorite pastime for Joe was hunting, stemming from a longtime interest in antique firearms. He was a member of both the National Rifle Association and the Manhattan Gun Club, and he attended target practice regularly.

"His family, his home and his job made him the happiest," Jane said.

Five years ago, seizing the opportunity to move away from the city, Joe purchased a house in rural East Stroudsburg, Pa. He began making a grueling three-hour round-trip commute to Manhattan each day, but had no regrets about his decision.

"Joe had had enough of Brooklyn," said Locascio, "and his wife just couldn't say 'no' to the house."

"He was quiet and attuned to his home -- he took great care in working and doing things [there]," said Jane.

Her daughter added, "he was compassionate and very close with his family. He was the last living male Flounders."

A memorial service will be held Dec. 1 at Trinity Church in Lower Manhattan, close to the remains of Joe's beloved Trade Center. His body has not yet been recovered.

Flounders is also survived by his mother, a resident of Palm Beach, Fla.

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