Before 9/11, Jason Oswald had followed his heart to New York

  • Jason Oswald

    Jason Oswald AP Photo/Wausau Daily News

  • Jason Oswald

    Jason Oswald

Updated 9/10/2021 3:29 PM

Jason Oswald's loved ones didn't write a traditional obituary for the 28-year-old.

There's no mention of his childhood, his education. It's a tribute, in 241 words, about new beginnings, a Ford Explorer and Nancy Prentis, the reason he quit his job, drove east and moved to New York.


"All he knew was that he wanted to be with Ms. Prentis," the obituary reads. "The job would come later, he told his mother from somewhere on the Pennsylvania Turnpike."

Oswald, a Wheaton College graduate, got that job, in accounting, at the bond brokerage firm Cantor Fitzgerald in August 2001. He worked on the 101st floor of the World Trade Center's north tower.

Oswald had only been a New Yorker for three months when hijackers crashed American Airlines Flight 11 into the side of the north tower at 8:46 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001.

Cantor Fitzgerald lost 658 employees in the attacks.

About a week earlier, before Labor Day, Oswald and Prentis had driven his Ford Explorer to Wisconsin to meet his parents. Prentis and her parents made the same trip, the obituary concludes, to attend memorial services for Oswald and to return the SUV.

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At a Wheaton College service, Jonathan Swindle recalled seeing his friend that Labor Day weekend in Wisconsin. Oswald, an outdoorsman, had taken to barefoot water skiing.

"He had a calm, deep sense of self," Swindle said.

Two other Wheaton College alumni died on 9/11: Todd Beamer and Jeffrey Mladenik.

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