(The following were both published in the New York Times on Friday, October 5, 2001 Link 1)
"When hot-air tension ballooned, Michael J. Berkeley knew just how to prick it. Once, as he and his wife, Lourdes Perez-Berkeley, were driving in a fancy neighborhood, their car sputtered to a halt. Yet again, Mr. Berkeley, a risk taker, hadn't filled up the tank. Her temper ignited. Mr. Berkeley knew she was itching to shout, ``I told you so!'' But the born charmer grinned and burst out laughing: at himself, their problem, at the lecture he knew she so badly wanted to deliver. His wife couldn't help laughing, too.Compare that as real journalism, with sourced quotes even in a second version, also titled: Everything Was in Place Link 2
"Mr. Berkeley, 38, the founder of the Berkeley Group, a securities brokerage-investment firm on the 79th floor of 1 World Trade Center, had superb people skills. He believed in reading people accurately to cultivate business - "Everyone has something for you," he used to say - but he also had a deep-seated belief in treating all people, no matter their station, with respect.
"He moved as comfortably among fellow members of prestigious golf clubs like Winged Foot and the Atlantic as he did among caddies. He could get anyone to laugh, not least the couple's two little boys: ``Get tough, get tough, show me your game face!'' he would shout, just before he flung pillows at them."
"At 38, Michael Berkeley was soaring: following in the footsteps of his cousin, John Utendahl, one of the country's most successful African- American financiers, Mr. Berkeley recently founded his own brokerage firm, with 79th-floor offices in the north tower of the World Trade Center. He had a house in the Hamptons, two young sons, and had been married for more than 10 years to Lourdes Perez-Berkeley, a top portfolio analyst who is also a former Miss Puerto Rico.Lourdes Perez-Berkeley Campaign Contributions and Donations ... $2,300 to Obama's campaign in the 4rth quarter of 2007 from an address in Mt. Kisco sounds pretty damn real Simon!
"But Mr. Berkeley, the son of a homicide detective and a head nurse, "was a regular guy, the greatest," said a cousin, Ronald Culberson, who described Mr. Berkeley as upbeat, warmly generous, welcoming. Another cousin, Ellen Turner, said that Mr. Berkeley and his wife, "never lost sight of themselves."
"Husband and wife referred to each with a deference and respect that only seemed to increase during their marriage, Ms. Turner said. "There was a giddiness about them - they always joked and smiled around each other. They protected each other. He didn't create her and she didn't create him. They complemented each other."
These "sketches" were written for the Times by Karen W. Arenson, Dan Barry, Lisa Belkin, Celestine Bohlen, Michael Brick, Glenn Collins, Nichole M. Christian, Alison Leigh Cowan, Barnaby J. Feder, Kenneth N. Gilpin, Elissa Gootman, Jane Gross, Hubert B. Herring, Jan Hoffman, N. R. Kleinfield, Iver Peterson, Barbara Stewart and Mary Williams Walsh.