By Daniel Massey
Like any couple about to bring their first child into the world, Sylvia San Pio and John Resta were excited they were soon to become new parents. The Bayside couple had plans to paint a room in their home for the baby due to arrive in late October or early November.
But instead of celebrating new life, the families of San Pio and Resta Saturday remembered the couple and their unborn child in a memorial mass at Sacred Heart Church in Bayside.
San Pio and Resta both worked for Carr Futures on the 92nd floor of Tower One of the World Trade Center, just four floors below the point where American Airlines flight 11 crashed into the skyscraper at 8:48 a.m. Sept. 11.
A portrait of San Pio and Resta embracing in a garden of flowers stood at the front of the church and throughout the service a picture emerged of a couple who was deeply in love and ecstatic over the prospect of becoming parents. San Pio was 7 1/2 months pregnant at the time of the terrorist attacks.
Toward the end of the service, a “remembrance song,” Sarah Maclachlan’s “Angel,” sounded over the church’s speaker system. “Sylvia, John, their baby and all the people that died Sept. 11 are the angels God has chosen to be by his side,” said Maritza Mure, San Pio’s older sister.
The couple met at an office Halloween party four years ago. Resta was a manager and San Pio a broker, according to a former colleague who attended the service.
In a eulogy Mure remembered the first time she met Resta. San Pio had brought him to her house where he spent the entire day playing with the children in the family.
At one point, Mure recalled, San Pio called her aside and asked what she thought of her new boyfriend. Mure told her sister, “he seems to be a kind, sincere person, but most of all, he seems to be very in love with you.”
Father Thomas Donovan, who presided over the mass, said “they loved each other, they looked forward to their baby.”
Speaking to San Pio in a eulogy, her younger sister, Laura Perez, said, “I loved John because of the happiness he brought to you.”
Perez described her missing sister as a role model. “I always wanted to be just like my big sister,” she said.
“When you’d go away to school, I’d cry and cry,” she said. “In recent years, when I went to school, you would be the one to cry. One thing that hasn’t changed is I still want to be like my big sister.”
Mure said San Pio’s life was a string of successes. She majored in math at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y. and graduated in 1995 after just three years of study. She traveled to Mexico after graduation to study ceramics. When San Pio returned — “to be with my family” is how she put it at the time, according to Mure — she found the job that would bring her together with Resta.
Mure called San Pio’s pregnancy her “last and greatest” accomplishment. “I’m happy she got to experience the miracle of feeling life inside of her,” she said.
But the seven months of her little sister’s pregnancy provided little comfort to Mure, who was looking forward to escorting her through the world of motherhood.
“I always assumed our children would grow up together and share memories, she said.”
Reach Reporter Daniel Massey by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 156.