By Nancy Lofholm The Denver Post
MONTROSE — A dozen years after his sister died in the 9/11 terrorist attack at New York City’s World Trade Center, Dr. Bill Faragher still can’t say the words.
He stammers as he talks about what happened to Kathleen “Kit” Faragher, who happened to be on the 106th story of one of the twin towers for a training class when a hijacked plane slammed into it.
Instead of saying, “she died,” he haltingly refers to Kit’s being vaporized in the attack as, “she departed.” But Faragher can talk about how he has used education and the Kit Faragher Foundation as a memorial to Kit and a catharsis for a family suffering the double pain of losing a loved one and of not being able to find even a molecule of her remains.
In the past decade, Faragher and his family, including his wife, Jana, and sisters Beth, a magistrate in Denver, and Mary, a kindergarten teacher in Ohio, have raised funds and given away $55,000 in scholarships to a dozen high school seniors who otherwise might not have been able to attend college.
“Our whole goal was to keep her spirit alive,” Faragher said. “She was a consummate learner, and she was always continuing her education. Ultimately, that’s what led to her untimely departure.”
Kit, who would be 46 now, worked as an information-technology programmer for Janus Funds in Denver when she went to New York for a planned week-long training session in 2001. She had lived and worked in Denver for a decade.
Dr. Faragher was in a medical residency program in Chicago on the day of the attack. He drove to New York as soon as he found out Kit was missing. He spent weeks with his sisters scouring New York City for any sign of their sibling. They searched hospitals, shelters and morgues before finally accepting that it was fruitless.
“It was the hardest two weeks I’ve ever gone through. It was horrible,” said Faragher, an interventional physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist in Montrose.
This past weekend, the Faraghers held what has turned into an annual sold-out fundraising dinner for the foundation that also has support from Janus. They raised enough that they hope to be able to give three $5,000 scholarships to students this year.
Wednesday, the Faragher family will move on to private grieving. Each year on 9/11 they gather for a dinner in Kit’s honor. They tell stories about her. They toast her spirit.
They also celebrate the birthday of Bill and Jana’s son, Kitridge, who will turn 4 years old on September 14. His due date had been 9/11.