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Edward L. Allegretto

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Eddie Allegretto had trouble keeping a secret from his wife. The day of her surprise bridal shower, he was nervous and brought her there too early. Her sisters and friends were still arranging the chairs when they walked in. "Nobody saw me," Louisa Allegretto remembered. "I was watching everyone get ready, and I couldn't stand it anymore. So I yelled, 'Surprise!' " That was 17 years ago, but she said the experience reminds her of two of her husband's most consistent attributes: He was always early, and he had trouble keeping a secret -- always giving it away. She also remembered how emotional he was. Mr. Allegretto's eyes would fill with tears of pride when he watched their children -- Marisa, 15, and Edward, 11 -- perform in plays or recitals. He would cry in church when a song reminded him of his mother, Marie. Edward Allegretto died on Sept. 11 in his office on the 104th floor of Tower Two at the World Trade Center. He was 51. The Colonia resident had been a bond broker for Cantor Fitzgerald for three years. "He was a wonderful father and a wonderful husband," Louisa Allegretto said. "He was very funny and loved to party. He loved to be with his family and friends." He was very close to his children, she recalled. "My son lost his father and his best friend when Eddie died," she said. "He did everything with him. He took him to his soccer games and was involved in the Little League with him." Mr. Allegretto was born and raised in Jersey City. He played football so well in high school that he was offered a scholarship to Montclair State University, his wife said, but he lost the scholarship when he hurt his knee before school began and couldn't play. He ended up not going to college. "He was self-made," his wife said. "He had no college education." His first job on Wall Street was as a messenger for the New York Stock Exchange. The couple met in 1980 while both worked at Cowen & Co., a brokerage firm. "He loved his job and was good at it," Louisa Allegretto said. He also loved sports, swimming and fishing. One of his closest friends, Jimmy Bongiovanni of Edison, knew him as a teenager in Jersey City, and said Mr. Allegretto "missed his calling." "He could tell a joke just like a stand-up comic," Bongiovanni remembered. "When he'd get on a roll, the punch lines would keep on coming." In addition to his wife and children, Mr. Allegretto is survived by his parents, Edward and Marie of Jersey City, and a brother, Louis, of the Colonia section of Woodbridge. A funeral Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. Tuesday at St. Cecelia's Church in Iselin. Visiting will be from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Monday at the Thomas Costello Funeral Home on Green Street in Woodbridge. The family asked that instead of flowers, donations be made to the Trust Fund for the Allegretto Children. Edward L. Allegretto loved to sing. He sang at his own wedding, he sang at his niece's first birthday party, he sang in his backyard to entertain all his friends. Louisa Allegretto said that while her husband was dedicated to his job as a convertible bonds broker at Cantor Fitzgerald, what he loved the most was spending time with family and friends. He was big in stature - at 51 years old, he was six feet tall. "He was a family man," said Mrs. Allegretto, his wife of 17 years, with whom he had two children. "He loved life." The family had frequent parties at their home in Colonia, N.J., where Mr. Allegretto made everyone laugh as he barbecued or they swam in the pool. And he always sang. "He sang a cappella in high school, and he always grabbed a mike and sang," said one of his wife's five sisters, Marlena Simone. At family dinners, he always sat at the head of the table. "He'd rather make a joke than get mad at anyone," Mrs. Simone said. "He said he couldn't waste his time on that."