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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.