Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 Tribute: Robert Wayne Hobson, III

A few weeks ago, I signed up for the 4th annual Project 2996, where over 3,000 bloggers join together to pay tribute to the victims of 9/11. I first heard about the project from Michelle Malkin, and didn't hesitate to join. Each blogger pledges to honor one of the 2996 people who lost their lives on that tragic day.

For me, choosing one person to honor was both simple and sad. Of the handful of people I knew who died on 9/11, the biggest loss was my brother-in-law, Wayne. Not a day goes by where we don't think about him, and miss him terribly. He brought out the best in all of us, and filled our family with laughter. This one's for you, Wayne.

Robert Wayne Hobson, III

Age: 36

Residence: Jersey City, NJ

Occupation: Broker, Cantor Fitzgerald

Location: World Trade Center, Tower 1, 105th Floor

What you won't find in any online tribute:

Wayne was not supposed to be there that day. At that point in his career, he was spending most of his time at the Cantor Fitzgerald offices in Houston, which made it that much more unbelievable that he was there on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. My sister, Cindy, worked in an office downtown that had a perfect view of the Twin Towers. She had spoken to her husband, Wayne, after his building was struck by the first plane. They were all scared, but he told Cindy, "Call my mother. Tell her I'm okay." After exchanging a few more brief, but personal, words, the phone call ended. That was the last time she spoke to him.

My sister wanted to run to the building to go and get him, or wait for him on the street to find him when he came out. Thank goodness, she had a quick-thinking boss who calmly took charge and led her out of the building, and out of the city. I was able to keep in touch with my sister as she made her way north, but never was our conversation more than a few seconds, because she wanted to be free to dial Wayne's number over and over again, hoping that the lines would open up and she would be able to talk to him again. I was able to phone Wayne's mother, Judith, who took up her post at Hobson's Choice, the bar Wayne and Cindy owned in Hoboken. Judith waited for her son, praying that he would walk through the door, grab a pint, and spend the evening regaling the crowd with another one of his great stories. I don't know when Judith left the bar...but he never came...

Wayne left behind a lot of friends and a family who loved him deeply. Wayne was the person you went to if you needed anything -- advice, a friend, a drink, a job, a car. Back in 1997, I got into a pretty bad car accident just a week before he married my sister. He was the first one who arrived on the scene, he took charge, and when it was all over, he handed me the keys to his Jeep. When I looked at him and said, "I can't take your car!" He replied, in all seriousness, "Why not?!?" because in Wayne's world, if someone needed a ride home, you gave her your car, of course! When someone asks me about Wayne, I tell them, he was the type of person that filled a room with his energy and sitting next to him was always the best seat in the house. I have yet to meet another man with his humor, energy and kindness.

I have no doubt that if there is a heaven, Wayne's running the bar and St. Peter is one of his best customers. It's always happy hour, the Redskins are always winning, and there's always a seat outside on the patio.

We miss you, Wayne.

We will never forget.

Read Wayne's Tribute on

Read Wayne's Memorial on


DD said...

Thank you for sharing him with us. Never Forget

Cathy said...

Thank you for sharing such a personal account.

Julie P. said...


What a beautiful and heartfelt tribute. You brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing. I can't imagine how difficult this was to write!

Anonymous said...

It sounds like the world lost a special person when you lost Wayne.
Thank you for sharing such a personal, heartfelt story. We will never forget Wayne or any of the others who had their lives stolen from them. We will never forget their families, either. Such a tragedy. I'm so sorry for your loss.


MommytoAJ said...

wow - not sure what to say. I'm in tears reading your post ... what a beautiful tribute ... he sounds like a wonderful man.


Stephanie said...

I am really sorry for your loss. Even though I didn't personally know anyone who died on September 11th, a lot of the Northern New Jersey towns lost people. It is a sad day in history.

Alicia said...

I'm so sorry for the loss your family has sustained. I know the pain doesn't go away; the gap cannot be filled. But I also know that the love endures. Thank you for this loving tribute to a life cut short.

I honor Christopher Paul Slattery.

Moms4SarahPalin said...

What a beautiful tribute..
May we never forget

kellybrynne32 said...

Wayne was one of my first brokers in the Energy business. I started doing business with him in the late 90's. I had spoken to him for over a year on the phone before I finally took a trip to NYC to meet him in person. What a surprise it was to find such a handsome man, so different from what I had imagined only knowing him from his voice. Wayne was so kind to me. Knowing that there aren't very many female traders in the industry he made a special point of doing "girlie" things with me when I was there instead of all the usual 'guy outing stuff'. He took me to the Russian Tea room for lunch. I was fascinated and it was so funny to watch poor Wayne in this restaurant full of wealthy ladies having afternoon "tea". He boasted that his wife, Cindy was a girlie girl and he knew all the best places and fashion as a result. He took me to Balthazar and we were going to meet Cindy. He was so excited and proud, telling me how beautiful she is and how fashionable and great she is. I couldn't wait to meet her, and, he was right, she IS all that! I believe that's the only time I met her in person, however, Wayne talked about her all the time, partly because he loved her so much and partly because i think he felt like it gave him common ground to try to relate to this female client he had in a sea of men! By 2001 I lived in Houston and I still talked to Wayne regularly while he was at Cantor. I believe it was late August or early September that he and Cindy came down to decide if they were going to move to Cantor's TradeSpark offices in Houston. I met up with him then and we talked about the logistics of that decision. Could he leave the bar, or run it from so far away? Would Cindy like Houston. I didn't see her that day because Wayne said he had sent her shopping at the Galleria to get her to fall in love with Houston. I was excited that he was considering moving to Houston! I am glad I found your post and at least it confirms for me that he was, in fact planning to make the move. I think about Wayne often, he was so kind to me and so much fun to work with. I recently moved to NJ and finally thought I would have a chance to visit Hobson's choice...the bar he told so many stories about. I was sad to find out I was too late and that it has closed. He once gave me a Hobson's Choice jacket around 1998 i think. It didn't survive my move in 2000 and that makes me sad. Thank you for this post and giving me a moment to talk about it.

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