For Chloe Wohlforth, Sept. 11, 2001 started out like an ordinary day.
That began to change as she was sitting in her high school French class in Greenwich, Connecticut, and a friend came in and said a plane had just flown into the World Trade Center in New York City.
Chloe’s first instinct was that her father, Martin Phillips Wohlforth, 47, a managing director at Sandler O’Neill & Partners, with offices on the 104th floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center, would be fine.
She quickly realized the situation was far more serious.
After getting picked up from school by her mother and grandmother, Chloe returned home to the beginning of a hectic time filled with a lot of uncertainty.
The family hung pictures of Martin, also known as “Buff,” in the city as a missing person. Chloe made an appearance on TV news to describe what her father looked like in case he was found hurt or in a hospital.
That frantic search eventually turned to mourning when it became clear Martin did not make it out alive.
At the time, it felt like the world had ended as she and her family knew it, Chloe recalls. There was also a constant stream of people dropping off flowers, food or calling on the phone.
“People just showed up in the most selfless way I had ever seen,” Chloe said.
While many asked, “How are you?” or “What can we do?” one couple asked that same question, but about the family’s finances.
Her mother’s response was “I don’t know,” Chloe said, because her father had always handled the money.
Those friends introduced her mother to a financial advisor, who helped them start to pick up the pieces in October 2001.
“We got lucky that someone decided to ask that hard question,” Chloe said.
A father’s legacy
Chloe, 36, remembers Martin as an exceptional father. “Of course, I’m biased,” she admitted.
Though he was dedicated to his career as a bond trader, he always put their family first.
On weekdays, he would wake at 4:45 a.m. to go to the World Trade Center. On weekends, he would get up at 5:45 a.m. to hit the golf course for the first tee-off time so he could have more time to spend with his family.
During the week, Martin would call Chloe, an only child, on her way to school to wish her luck on whatever test she was taking or game she was playing that day. While work was very important to him, he would walk in the door every night at 7:30 p.m. for dinner.
“I still feel his presence and support to this day,” Chloe said.
“I always tend to think how amazing it is that he was able to be such a source of support to the point where I can still draw on that.”