2996 Tribute: Billy Tselepis, Jr.- Cantor Fitzgerald

I never met Billy Tselepis. In fact, I never even knew his name until I got a frantic phone call on the morning of September 11, 2001, from my friend and his big brother, Peter Tselepis.


Billy worked as a trader for Cantor Fitzgerald (www.cantor.com) in the World Trade Center, just like Peter. He had moved to New York, just like Peter, from Chicago, where the big, warm, Greek family always welcomed them back for visits.

“Duane, pray like you have never prayed before! My little brother Billy works on the 101st floor of the World Trade Center and the building is on fire below him! There’s no way to get out, and we can’t get through to him!”

Foreign exchange options traders generally are not prone to panic. They like the action, the risk, and the intensity of the situation where millions of dollars can swing on one decision. Over the long run, you had to be right a lot more than you were wrong, and Peter thrived on the excitement. He relished the life, leaving it earlier than he had intended when his wife wanted to take a job in her hometown Minneapolis area. So Peter moved to the cold Northland, but still got back to New York whenever he could- to spend time with Billy.

They hung out. They played golf. They spent time with Billy’s wife, Mary. They played with Billy’s toddler, Katie. Then Peter would go back to Prior Lake, Minnesota and wish that Billy lived in Minneapolis.

On September 11th, 2001, Mary Tselepis was about eight months pregnant with Will. And then she, Katie, Will, and, yes, Peter, were robbed of love, a lot of life, and a lot of happiness by a gang of kamikaze assassins carrying out their conviction that if you were not conforming to the nihilistic legal creed of Sayeed Qutb, you didn’t deserve to live.

The New York Times profile of Billy Tselepis is here, where photograph originated: http://www.legacy.com/Sept11.asp?Page=TributeStory&PersonId=94766

God loves you Billy, even though thugs robbed you of life, and robbed your loved ones of you, allegedly in His name. The best tribute is to put them all out of business before their successors can destroy other lives.

And God loves Mary, the kids, and Peter, as well. May His blessings soothe the pain and loss as you go on- but never, never forget.

For more on the 2996 project, go to http://www.dcroe.com/2996/ to see how each 9-11-2001 victim is being honored.

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