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September 10, 2015

Remembering Sharon Balkcom

by Anne Paddock

Sharon Balkcom was 43 years old when she died on September 11, 2001 after American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 am. The plane hit the building between the 93rd and 99th floors, rendering all stairwells and elevators above the 92nd floor impassable. Balkcom worked as an Assistance Vice President of Technology at Marsh & McLennan, an insurance and brokerage firm that occupied eight floors of offices between the 93rd and 100th floors. All 294 employees of Marsh & McLennan present that day, including Sharon Balkcom perished.

Sharon-BalkcomBorn on January 2, 1958, Sharon Balkcom was the middle of three children of Rosalee and Nathaniel Balkcom, who emphasized the importance of education.  In primary school, Balkcom’s mathematical talents became evident which led to her attending middle school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and then the Bronx High School of Science. She graduated from Colgate University with a degree in political science in 1980 and went on to earn an MBA from Pace University.

Balkcom worked in the insurance industry, first for AIG where she was employed as a business analyst, a quality assurance professional and project manager, and then for Marsh & McLennan, where she worked for the last three years of her life.

Although Balkcom was a “New Yorker,” she always wanted to live in Westchester which led to her purchasing a condominium in Winding Ridge, NY in 1999. On the September 11th anniversary, a special ceremony is held in her honor in a memorial garden that was established in the condominium complex so that other people can gather to remember Sharon Balkcom and celebrate her life.

The Balkcom family also established The Sharon Balkcom Memorial Scholarship at Colgate University for deserving students from the New York City area. To donate, make out a check or money order to Colgate University and write “Sharon Balkcom” on the memo line. Donations should be mailed to Colgate University, 13 Oak Drive, Hamilton, NY 13346.

She was so serious and conscientious about everything she did and said. I loved her way of handling her career and her life. She was a competitor, a woman who strived to be the best.                                                                                                                       ~Joan Marshall-Urtubia

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