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Date of Birth: July 27, 1948
Department: Back Office Systems
Position: Vice President
Shelly Kanter was born in Brooklyn, NY. He was always surrounded by family. His cousins lived in the same building, as did his grandparents. So, although he was an only child, he was never really aware of it. His cousin Stevie was his big brother. His cousins Carole and Allison were his close sisters. They were always close, and remained close as the years went by.
Shel’s love was sports. He could be found on the weekends, either playing paddleball, or getting a group of guys together to play softball.
His first job, after graduating from NYU, was at RCA. I met him there in 1971. One of they guys in his office had vacation, but was supposed to teach a programming class to some new trainees at Chase Manhattan Bank, Shel stepped in to teach the class. I got an A, and then married the teacher.
No sooner was he at RCA, then he formed a softball team. Once a week, the guys in the office would meet and play other companies. Sometimes they won, sometimes not – but always it was a fun night out with the guys. Even as the company changed names – first Univac, then Unisys, then Sperry – you could always count on the ‘Bombers’ for weekly softball championships.
In 1979, we moved to New Jersey and soon the family grew, with the arrival of our two sons, Evan and Adam. He couldn’t wait until they were old enough to join Dad on the field, and looked forward to now having his own team.
His kids never let him down. As they grew up, they became more than Dad’s kids, but his friends. On the weekends, they’d play racquetball, tennis, or just threw a ball around.
The highlight of any driving vacation was always the stop at the rest areas on the highways where a spontaneous football toss would always take place.
One year we all went cross-country by car, from New Jersey to South Dakota to Las Vegas and Utah and the Grand Canyon. I thought we were going to see the sites, but the three guys had a hidden agenda. We stopped at every baseball, football stadium on the way and they managed to get tickets for the games, wherever the teams were playing.
He started at Cantor Fitzgerald in 1983. He even managed to arrange softball games while at Cantor, and a few times his son, Evan, even joined in at the game.
He loved the firm, it was his second family, but he loved the World Trade Center even more. He loved to brag to everyone back in New Jersey about the towers. Looking back, many of the family photographs had the towers in the background, as we would always head to the city for the fireworks, the boat rides and the city celebrations.
In 1998 his oldest, Evan, joined him at the company for a summer job. He always talked about how Dad would change as he got to the office. No matter how stressful the commute, the moment he entered his office – he would become animated and would always have a joke to pass around the office. His love for his family at Cantor was apparent.
The highlight of the summer for Shelly and the guys, was always the company picnic. The three of them would all look forward eagerly to the afternoon ball games. It was during those family games that the Kanter family and the Cantor family all played together as one.
We know that despite the pain and sorrow of September 11, Shel is not alone. He will always be surrounded by all of his friends and family at Cantor Fitzgerald.
“Tami & Shelly”. Saying it was like one word. You couldn’t say one without saying the other. Who knew my sister had such good taste in men?
I heard someone say at a memorial service “Let us thank G-d for the lives that we mourn”, and I thought, “That’s what I needed to do.” A day doesn’t go by when I don’t thank G-d for allowing us the time that we had with Shelly.
I personally have a lot to be thankful for. I’ve known Shel for over 30 years and in that time he’s been a brother to me. He was the quintessential family guy. He took care of everyone. Shel was the perfect dad to Evan and Adam and a great uncle to my sons Alex and Mark. He was a friend, an advisor, a cheerleader, and a role model for all of us and he helped everyone that he could. He never had a bad word for anyone that I remember (except maybe when the Giants lost a game). He took care of my mom for many years after she moved in with them. He took care of my sister. He took care of me.
And who can forget the inventor of the “Shelly Minute”, improving on the microwave oven when they first came out.
We all miss Shelly, but as long as we keep him in our hearts and continue to look to him as a role model, he’ll always be there for us.
Thank you, Shelly.
And I speak for everyone when I say to Tami, Evan and Adam that we all love you as much as we love Shelly, and we’ll always be there for you.
SHELLY, AS OUR FAMILY CALLED HIM, WAS THE GREATEST. WE FEEL LIKE HE IS A SON, NOT A NEPHEW. HE NEVER REFUSED TO DO ANYTHING, LIKE PICK US UP AT THE AIRPORT. HE WAS THE BEST HOST ANYONE WOULD WANT. WE WILL MISS HIM VERY MUCH.
UNCLE JOE & AUNT FREDA
There are no words to express the loss of Shelly. He was a very kind hearted person. I knew Shel for the past 10 years. I’ve been working for him from 1994 and during these years I have learned a lot from him. He always had a smile on his face. He helped everyone in his group with any problem. He used to get calls all the time day & night and even when he was at a game or at a concert. He promptly called back and helped us out. He was the nicest person I have ever seen in my life. Every day since 9/11 I have been thinking of him and my heart breaks. There are no words to express the greatness of Shel. I miss you very much Shel. May God rest his soul in peace.
Having grown up with Shelly in the same apartment building in Brooklyn, I can tell you that he was the same happy and caring person as a child as he was as an adult. He never had a bad word for anyone or about anyone. What a sweet and generous kid! Although I was three years older, we still spend much time together in our homes and in the street. He always was a sports fan and we (and my sister Alison) spent many happy hours playing ball in the street, poring over baseball card collections, and (when we had to be indoors) playing “dice baseball.” Although he was a rabid Yankees fan throughout most of his life, the real truth is that he was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan first — something he never talked about as he got older — but I can still picture him wearing his Dodgers “B” cap! I’ll always love you, Shelly!
Shelly’s hearty morning greetings and perpetual smile are impossible to forget. He was instantly likeable and from the day I started he treated me as if we were life-long buddies. Professionally, Shelly would go out of his way to to help me, and he always treated me with the utmost respect.
Whether it was at work, at the company picnic or tailgating at a football game, Shelly’s warmth and enthusiasm shined. Me and my family miss him dearly.
While the Yankees and the Giants are not always winners, one thing is for certain, Shelly is!
My father Shelly, was a great man, and he will always be a giant part of me in whatever I do. Ever since I worked with him at Cantor Fitzgerald several summers ago, I got to know him more as a best friend first, and as a father second.
We used to take walks around the neighborhood where all we would do is talk for hours. I moved home last year, and one of the main reasons I did that was to be closer to him. Every weekend it seemed like we were playing some sport, or going to see a ballgame.
Sports were our common interest, and every time I look at a Yankees’ boxscore, I am reminded about how he loved watching games with my brother Adam and I.
Most of you who are reading this will understand that he was an exceptional human being. I hope you never forget him and the happiness he shared with his family and friends.
Unfortunately, my future children will never get to meet him, but I will pass on all of his stories. He was a great father, and I will make sure that his legend lives on through me.
I read all the tributes that everybody so sweetly wrote about my dad and yet it still doesn’t come close to half the man he was.
Whether it was the warm greeting he gave me whenever I or him came home. (which rubbed off on me, I do the same)
Whether it was his realization that me and my brother Evan were growing up and out of the house, so the last few years were our best years.
Whether it was him kicking my butt in tennis one day, the next day I’d beat him right back.
Whether it was his warm hugs that warmed my soul.
Whether it was his love for everybody.
No…not even that helps to shed light on how special he really was; words can’t express how incredible you were to me.
—I watched an old home video of you growing up and I saw how incredible of a father your dad was. I see how he (Pop-pop) rubbed off on you as you did me. You may never meet my kids, but I’m going to tell them all about you so that they can father their kids as you did to me. I will tell them so many stories, and you know what? They’ll never get tired of hearing them.—
It’s hard coming to work, knowing that Shelly is no longer with us. Shelly was my boss at Cantor Fitzgerald/eSpeed but when I think of him, it’s his enthusiasm that comes to mind. He loved his work at Cantor, he loved the people, he loved the Trade Center. And then, there were all the things he loved outside the office: his family, his house, sports, concerts and much more! He always gave the impression that he was bouncing for joy. Frustrating work situations didn’t seem to faze him and he never wanted to say anything negative about anyone. He’s greatly missed-not just for his vast store of knowledge but for his enthusiasm and commitment. But mostly, he’s missed for himself. Shelly, wish you were here!
A lot of strength the coming time.
Shelly was a great guy. My wife and I worked with Tami for many years, and I first met Shelly at one of the little after-work get togethers we’d have at a pub downtown. He always had a great sense of humor and perspective about what was really important. When I accepted the position at eSpeed, I called Tami to tell her about it, mentioning that she’d probably never heard of this company. She laughed pretty hard when I dropped the name eSpeed. Anyway, I got to know Shelly a lot better at eSpeed – and I won’t forget how he went out of his way to make me feel at home here. He never tired of talking about his boys, who were clearly (along with Tami) his joy in life. We worked on several projects together, and it was always a pleasure to work with him. We all miss him.
I worked in Operations when Shelly was in Systems. He worked closely with my department. It was always a pleasure to work with him. He was an easy-going and gentle soul. I’m glad to have known him.
Dear beloved family of Shelly Kanter,
Like all Americans, my heart broke on September 11th. I used to work as a programmer at Cantor Fitzgerald and knew Shelly to be a wonderful man. He was always smiling, friendly and helpful. When I confirmed the awful truth that Shelly was killed that day, I broke into tears. I knew him to be a great co-worker. I am certain that he was a wonderful husband and father. This is why I believe that: the day before I left the office for a couple of weeks to get married, Shelly stopped me in the hall to wish me luck. With his typically big smile spread across his face, he told me to just really enjoy the day. “Enjoy the day!” he said. “Really, have fun. My wedding day, as well as the days that my kids were born, were the happiest days of my life. Getting married was the best thing that I have ever done!” He hugged me and bid me good luck. I heeded Shelly’s advice and really enjoyed my wedding day.
My years at Cantor are among the happiest years of my career and my life. I will always remember those times and those dear people. I felt compelled to share with you some of my memories of your beloved Shelly. A family should know when their loved one says such beautiful things about them to others. I will ALWAYS remember him.
G-d bless you and hold you up during this difficult time. My prayers are with you.
It’s six months after 9/11, and this is the first night of the light tribute by ground zero. When Tami first sent mail about this web site all I could think of is what will I write.
Well basically, if knowing one half of a relationship bears on the other then Shelly was truly a wonderful person. Tami’s stories of her husband have always been happy and humorous. Their home showed how indulgent they were towards the members of their family: Tami’s little villages, Shelly’s cars, one son’s trip to Spain and the taking in of one son’s friend, into their home. I believe them both to be very kind, generous and hopeful people. And if their son’s show only 50% of that, they are way ahead and blessed.
This photo is fantastic – it looks like my thoughts of Shelley. I worked in Systems with Shelley for the year and a half that I was at Cantor, and I’m really grateful for the chance to have known him.
Cantor was my first “big” job, and his face is one of the only I remember from the first confusing, scary day. I remember him smiling at me and welcoming me, being goofy, making some tremendously corny jokes, and basically just being really nice to me when I *needed* someone to be nice to me. Although I wasn’t in his group, I saw him pretty much daily. He was a lot of fun, and very sweet.
My heart goes out to the Kanters – I knew only a fraction of his personality, but that fraction was like a vein of gold. Shelley was a really swell guy. I’m so sorry for your loss (and my loss, and Cantor’s loss as well).
I worked with Shelly in Back office systems for
exactly one year before departing Cantor in December, 2001. After I joined your team I
realized that you were the King of the Back
Office. You knew every little detail and you hoped that every member of the team should be as knowledgeable as you are. So, you kept inviting me into your office for one on one sessions where you could teach me new details and with a smile on your face you checked if this knowledge was passed to me in real situations(day and night).
During these meeting you reminded me of my grand
father who passed away long time ago back in Russia. He was as demanding and smart as you are.
You loved to talk about your family, and about
the Yankees, were a very proud father. You were very excited when you bought your Acura and enjoyed it a lot. I learned a lot working with you which helps me to perform my current duties in the brokerage industry, and yes, once in a while I come to the office late and always remember our tough discussions about responsibilities but
unfortunately I can not prove my point to you
anymore. Goodby, my dear friend, Shel!
The most important thing to remember about Shelton
Kanter was he was a people person.
Treated his customers like they were king and queens.
It doesn’t matter if your catholic, protestant, jewish, bodist, knew how to talk with people
not too people.
We cannot ever forget what happened to Shelton Cantor or the rest of all the people from Cantor,
World Trade Center ,The Pentagon, or flight 913.
Don’t let terrosist ruin the memories of these
God Bless them and The United States of America,
Warmest Wishes for Continuing the Memmories,
Shelton always treated his customer like kings and queens.
Remember what he stood for and about his vertues.
God Bless him and the rest of the innocent people
hurt from this tragedy.
As this tribute to Shelly is being composed, page 126 of the “Tech Blueprint, 1966”, containing Shelly’s photo at age 17 or 18, is open upon my desk at home. The “Blueprint” is the yearbook for Brooklyn Technical High School, which Shelly and I attended and graduated from in 1966. We were just acquaintances, and our paths did not cross in the ensuing years, so I cannot honestly add to the other tributes here. However, these tributes serve as a form of 36 year “reunion” with Shelley, and through his family’s, friends’, and co-workers’ tributes to him, the natural curiosity concerning “how they all turned out” that accompanies school reunions, has been satisfied, albeit under tragic circumstances. It is apparent to me now that Shelly “turned out very well indeed”, and despite the grief that his untimely death has produced in the hearts of those touched by his many fine qualities, truly I am the poorer for never having associated with him since we both graduated Brooklyn Tech. Shelly did not sign my tech yearbook, but to the left of his photo, another classmate wrote words that seem appropriate for Shelly at this time:
Until we meet again!
It took me several years to come to terms with what happened to the “twins”. I worked with Shelly right after I arrived to the US… He was to me, not only my manager, but became my mentor. I learned from him traits that have helped me throught the years. Shelly was a wonderful person, with a soul as big as a star… God bless you Shell…
Daniel Benitez, Monica, and the boys…
You and your family are in my thoughts, not only today (anniversary), but each and every day throughout the year.
Ten years later, I still think of you and our coworkers who were there that tragic day. Will miss you always and wish it were different. Despite it all, your light still shines. Rest in peace, Shelly. May your family be comforted.
Warm regards to all,
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