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September 11 Memorial: Remembering the victims who died at the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania

Photo of

Karl W. Teepe

Age: 57

Hometown: Centreville, Va., USA

Occupation: Civilian employee, Defense Information Agency

Location: Ground, Pentagon

"It was his 50th birthday. We were getting our passes for the historic area. They were laid on a table when they were finished. His was the funniest picture. He picked it up and immediately started laughing. He showed it to us and we were all just laughing, laughing, laughing. Every place we would go to in the historic area that day, he would say to the person sitting by the door, 'Have you ever seen such a picture?' He carried it in his wallet, and for years he would randomly pull it out and we would all laugh some more. It was still in his wallet when he was killed. I said, 'Well, if there are any personal effects returned we would like to have that ID card back.' Somehow it survived. It's charred around the edges, but you can still see the funny face. We miss Karl's great sense of humor." --Donna Teepe, wife

Profile:

Karl Teepe would sometimes take the Metro from the Pentagon to the Mall on his lunch break. He'd sit in a sculpture garden, or one of the Smithsonian Institution galleries, just to let the beauty sink in.

It had been a beautiful year. His daughter Wendy, 28, got married. His son Adam, 22, graduated from college.

"I think we were the most important thing to him," said Adam.

The family wanted to find a photograph that seemed appropriate. His Army and Defense Intelligence Agency IDs wouldn't do. For those, he would always make the funniest face possible. They chose the one from Wendy's wedding -- the glowing father of the bride.

Karl W. Teepe, 57, was born in St. Louis. He worked as a budget analyst. At home in Centreville, he spent his time making his surroundings beautiful -- the yard, the deck, the house. He took classes on the human genome, the Civil War, painting.

"Every time I came home, he had some exhibit I had to see," Wendy said.

At Christmas, he told the stories during the family slide show, bringing alive years of memories.

Before his Pentagon office was struck, he and his wife, Donna, planned a night out to see Garrison Keillor.

"We still have the tickets," she said.

-- Michael Laris

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Source: The Washington Post, AP and washingtonpost.com

The profiles in this feature were written in the months following Sept. 11, 2001.

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A day after the 9/11 attacks a makeshift memorial was created on the Arlington Memorial Cemetery fence. Seven years later, the first 9/11 memorial is opening.

Related Coverage:

3-Dimensional Virtual Memorial

Victims Remembered in Maryland

One Family's Loss

Stepping Through the Ashes

Pentagon Under Attack

Five Year Anniversary Coverage


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