Monday, September 11th, 2006:
What I think:
How, you may ask, can one "remember" someone whom one had never known?
While researching the life of Theresa "Ginger" Risco, I felt that, even though I'd never met her, I kinda started to get to know her through some of the heartfelt tributes I read about her. And she had the extremely charismatic character of someone I definitely would love to have known.
It appears that Ginger, who was given the nickname because of her bright red hair, was one heck of a go-getter. In the largely male-dominated world of finance, her passions for learning and perfection, along with her tell-it-like-it-is and don't-take-crap-from-anyone attitude, served her well and got her far.
But she was also described as being an incredibly fun and cheerful person, as well as being "the glue of the family", according to her brother, John Caggiano. At Mother's Day, Ginger would apparently send her brothers reminders to make sure that they wouldn't forget to buy gifts for their mother.
So what did she do for a living? Theresa Risco worked her way up from a secretary to Senior Vice-President at Fred Alger Management. According to her boss, Fred M. Alger, writing in a letter to her husband, "She was the best our firm had to offer, the best on Wall Street."
I'd say that's pretty impressive, wouldn't you?
From her husband of nine-and-a-half years, professor Bill Nelson, we learn that her thirst for knowledge was unquenchable, which made it very difficult to teach her something new. Every answer was greeted by another question from her.
"She never just accepted something, she was constantly probing for more information. She always felt she had to know everything," said Nelson. "She had great admiration for thinkers."
Ginger's determination to succeed also meant that she had actually held down three jobs while taking classes at different schools in New York, eventually ending up at Columbia University. How's that for multi-tasking? I have trouble chewing gum and walking at the same time.
But there was even more to Ginger than this. She was also a very cool chick in the Seventies. She actually hung out with the Grateful Dead in Haight-Asbury. Talk about street-cred.
Ginger was also extremely fit (is there no end to this woman's talents and achievements?). Check this out: she ran the New York Marathon, and walked home before her family even considered going out to meet her at the finish line.
One thing I love about people is a good sense of humour (US/CAN: humor). Ginger had this too. Apparently, in 1992, she wore a badge on her stylish designer suit that read "I'm for Hillary's husband."
So, what do I think about Theresa Risco? Let's see:
No-nonsense attitude? Check.
Family values? Check.
Physical fitness? Check.
Sense of humour? Check.
Coolness factor? 100%.
Need I say more?
Ginger, this tribute on this day is for you, from a British-Canadian admirer living in Helsingborg, Sweden.
And to Mr Nelson, and everyone in Ginger's family, my thoughts are with you on the fifth anniversary of your tragic and pointless loss.
That's what I think.
Note: Get to know more about Ginger. Have a look at this article in the Columbia Spectator, which was a key source of information.