The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)
TIME with family and friends’
Cheshire man killed in World Trade Center attack remembered
As a high school cross-country runner at Cheshire High School at the end of the 1970s, the wooded running trails at Cheshire Park were a special place for Mark Jardim, according to his wife.
“I think for Mark, running gave him a way to clear his mind, feel free,” Jennifer Jardim said of her late husband, who was killed while at work in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, when two hijacked airplanes slammed into the twin towers.
“In later years, I think it always took him back to the time he spent running in Cheshire and CHS cross-country and all the fun memories and friendships that enriched and sustained him through his life,” she said.
Jennifer Jardim and members of her husband’s 1980 graduating class will honor him next month by rededicating the park’s pavilion in his memory. The ceremony will be part of the 40th reunion of the class, which had to be postponed from last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mark Jardim was 39 and a senior vice president in Investment Administration at Zurich Scudder Investments at the time of his death.
Linda Bouchard, a former classmate of Jardim’s and one of the organizers of the class reunion, recalled the day she heard about his death.
“It was so horrific that I almost couldn’t believe it,” she said. “It was just horrendous.”
Cheshire Park had a special meaning for Jardim’s family and friends even after his death because for 15 years, it was also home to the Mark Jardim Memorial Jog. The event raised money for a scholarship that was created in his name at Cheshire High School, as well as other worthy causes.
“Cheshire is a great town, it is special, and I was always in awe and a bit envious of the environment in which Mark grew up,” Jennifer Jardim said, “Mark’s brother John, his wife, Kim, and their twin boys live in Colorado and they, myself and a few other friends were pivotal in organizing and running the MJMJ every year. But after 15 years, everyone was getting older, everyone’s kids were growing up, and it was getting harder for everyone to get together every year, so we decided to end it on a high note, while we still had good participation.”
Jennifer Jardim, who lives in New Jersey, met her late husband when they were both working at financial firm The Boston Co.
“Mark went to Northeastern in Boston for college, and I moved to Boston after college,” she said.
They were friends at first for a few years, according to Jardim, “part of a larger group of co-workers who were all starting out in our careers, working hard but also enjoying each other’s company, hanging out together and having fun outside of work.”
“He was warm, friendly, funny; he liked to get people together and had a pretty large group of childhood friends from Cheshire and college friends whom he kept close,” she said of her husband. “He worked hard and was very successful in his career, rising up the ranks so to speak, but what he really valued was his family and friends.”
The couple was married in 1994 in Portland, Maine, by the Rev. John Sullivan,
a Cheshire High School classmate who had become a priest. Sullivan would come back into Jennifer Jardim’s life in the aftermath of 9/11: She credits him with helping her and others close to Mark come to terms with his death.
Three years later, their careers in finance took them from Boston to New York City where they both got jobs in the financial sector. “At the time of 9/11, we were actually house hunting in Connecticut, thinking we could commute into New York City, but have more space and a break from the rigors of New York City life,” Jennifer Jardim said. “Mark jokingly envisioned a ‘family compound’ where all his family
and friends would live. He would have everyone whom he loved close by.”
She said at Zurich Scudder, “they called him the Pied Piper because whenever he went out for a drink after work, he would gather a large following to join him.”
“He was a manager by then and really enjoyed mentoring the younger staff and instilling in them the values that he felt important: Work hard, with integrity and purpose; stand up for your principles; try to bring fun, joy and satisfaction into what you do,” Jennifer Jardim said. “But always value your time with family and friends.”