Edward Lichtschein would have had a lot of fun with today’s pods, pads, and other gadgets. A computer engineer by trade, he was quite proficient at diagnosing and repairing machines that weren’t being cooperative.
He had a knack for making electronic machines go. But fixing broken technological items was only what he did for work, not who he was. Edward was a modest, attentive, and funny person who solved problems while enjoying life.
Edward was a New Yorker through and through. People who choose to stay in the city like him give it character more than anything else. Edward sounded like the sort of person that tourists would be lucky to chat with if they happened to talk to a local on the sidewalk. Hard workers who also live in the city help make it vigorous and vibrant.
Simultaneously, part of New York’s fun is experiencing divergent lifestyles on the same day, which he exemplified by living and working in different boroughs. A resident of Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood, Edward worked as a software designer for a Manhattan-based company called eSpeed, a subsidiary of financial firm Cantor Fitzgerald.
Edward certainly made sure he was qualified to pursue his career. And he did so without leaving the greatest city in the world : the Knickerbocker did all his schooling in New York City, too, getting an undergraduate degree in engineering from Columbia before obtaining a masters degree in physics and engineering that was jointly awarded by New York University and Cooper Union. He got a tremendous education without ever having to cross the Hudson River.
Even then, a resulting impressive career was just the start of how he maximized his hours. Edward enjoyed activities such as writing and drawing in his spare time. The latter served an important part of the most important part of his life, namely his family.
He liked doing sketches for his siblings’ children, especially when it came to his specific hobby of creating hand-generated pictures of fun family situations. Edward’s relatives, who knew him as Ari, enjoyed spending time with him as much as he did with them.
His interaction with relatives also entailed reading to his younger nephews and nieces. When it came to the older ones, he liked talking about The Simpsons and rock music in addition to trading videos and CDs with them.
The way Edward connected with the nine children of his brother Mark and sister Vera stands as a most admirable accomplishment. We may not choose our respective families, but Edward chose to love and spend time with his. It was a big part of how he spent his life.
Edward was murdered by terrorists one decade ago after going to work in the North Tower of the World Trade Center. He was 35 years old, and was just living his life on his last day with us.
Of course, he was taken far too soon. But Edward accomplished so much in three and a half decades. Those who knew him say that he was as smart as he was kind. The impression left by people who knew Edward and publicly shared stories about him is that they felt fortunate to have been part of his life. Those who learn about him now should consider his life as an embodiment of everyday joyousness.
By all accounts, he truly appreciated the activities in which he chose to partake such as traveling and listening to music. Even further, he was given many gifts which he developed and shared with others. Working hard to maximize what we have is what we should all do; Edward did a fine job of demonstrating this fulfilling maxim.
We should be thankful for people like Edward and strive to emulate how he lived well whether working hard or cherishing family time. Simple things can’t be appreciated enough. Edward Lichtschein’s life should be remembered by the high standard he set for the rest of us. Nobody can ever take away what he did or the example he left.
Originally published September 11, 2011.