Roll of Honor

Robert W. Spear Jr.

Robert W. Spear Jr.

  • Firefighter
  • Fire Department City of New York
  • New York
  • Age: 30
  • Year of Death: 2001

Robbie was an incredible man. He was the youngest and only son in a family of four children. His father passed away when he was 11‚ which left an indelible impact on his life. He became the man of the household and formed extraordinarily close relationships with his mother and three sisters. He was their caretaker‚ yet he was their baby.

The family loved each other unconditionally and had a bond not often seen in families today. Some may think that this would result in Robbie being a ‘mama’s boy’ but that was far from the truth. Robbie was a man’s man who was not above cooking and cleaning.

What was most special about Robbie was that he had the ability to make everyone feel loved and special. Anyone of his friends will tell you that Robbie was their best friend. He was the life of the party‚ the comedian‚ the daring one and the one you would turn to when you needed him most. He had a sense of honor and respect that lead him to join the U.S. Army‚ serving in the 82nd Airborne division as a Forward Observer. Robbie loved the Army; however Robbie’s love for the Army was exceeded by his love for his wife‚ Lorraine Ferrara Spear. Robbie left the Army to share his life with Lorraine. This was a decision of his for which Lorraine will forever be grateful.

Even after leaving the Army‚ Robbie’s sense of duty and honor drove his every action. About 1 year before joining the Army‚ Robbie took the test to become a New York City Fire Fighter. It was upon returning from his honeymoon in May of 1999 that he learned that there was a good chance he would be accepted ~thin the next year. In February 2000‚ when Robbie received the news that he had been accepted‚ he turned to Lorraine and asked if she would mind if he quit his job‚ take a 50% pay cut and become a NYC Fire Fighter. She told him that whatever he chose would be fine with her. He did not hesitate and started the academy a week later.

Robbie loved the FDNY more than anyone could imagine. It was his dream. The FDNY combined all of the qualities of the Army that Robbie loved most – the sense of camaraderie‚ the family-like atmosphere‚ putting your life in the hands of another and having them do the same.

In his 1-_ short years as a member of the FDNY‚ all of his dreams were coming true. He had a wonderful marriage and he had a wonderful career. His family and friends have said that they have never seen him happier. Yet it was in July of 2001 that Robbie and Lorraine decided that there was one thing missing to complete their happy life – a child. Robbie wanted to give his child everything he missed out due to his father’s passing. He always said his greatest regret was not having a father through his formative years. Fatherhood was going to be his greatest accomplishment of all. Unfortunately‚ it would never come to pass.

The last time Lorraine saw Robbie was September 9‚ Sunday evening. The next morning he was heading into the firehouse to begin his 24-hour tour. She spoke with him twice on the morning of September 11 – the second time the conversation began at 8:46 AM. Normally‚ he would have been relieved of duty by then‚ however the company was short staffed and he was waiting for a detail from another company to relieve him – normal happenings in the FDNY. He continued telling me what he was going to be doing for the rest of the day and the week ahead. Of course this included spending most of the week with his sister Christine‚ helping her fix up her newly purchased home. While they were speaking‚ she heard an announcement over the firehouse PA system. The announcement stated that there was a 2-alarm fire at the WTC. He asked her if she had heard the announcement and she said yes. His last words to her were ‘If you don’t hear from me by 10:30‚ cancel my haircut appointment.’

She canceled his haircut at 10:28 AM after hearing that both towers had collapsed. That was the last anyone ever heard from Robbie but his legacy stays with us all today.

He was the godfather of four children and the uncle of seven. But most of all‚ he was a kind and loving man who lived life to its fullest and taught those closest to him to live each moment as if it were the last day of your life. This was an ideology that he adhered to – thank God he did.

Lorraine Spear

  • (will not be published)

Memorial Wall

  1. I had the incredible honor of climbing in memory of Robert W. Spear Jr. at the 9/11 Stair Climb at FDIC in Indianapolis this year. Upon my last round of stairs, I yelled his name loudly so that all could hear and spoke it with pride, honor and respect. Robert guided me and my fellow brothers and sisters throughout the climb, each each step of the way, alongside all the fallen firefighters that we climb to honor and remember. Robert, we will never forget you and I will be honored to climb for you again.

    – Molly Moorman
  2. Today I walked in your memory at the 9/11 memorial stair climb. It was truly an honor.

    – Kristen Long
  3. On August 13th, 2016, I had the honor of climbing in my second stair climb in Charlotte NC. With this honor came a surprise. Both years I have had the honor to climb for Robert “Robbie” W. Spear Jr. This year I captained a team and when I opened the envelope to pass out the tags there he sat. I truly feel reading about Robbie has made me a better husband, firefighter, and person. I will continue to climb each year to honor the sacrifice of those brave people but also for the families as well. With love and respect.

    – Benjamin Crawford
  4. On September 9th, 2016, I had the honor of remembering Robert W. Spear Jr. with a small act of service. My whole community organized an event where each individual would receive a name and perform an act of service in memory of the fallen firefighters, police officers, and Pentagon employees. I was given his name. I have read a few memoirs about him, and I’m incredibly grateful that I had this opportunity.

    I was barely a month old when 9/11 happened, but the effect that it has on our country will last forever. In memory of Mr. Spear, I spent an hour and a half picking up trash around North Pole High School’s campus and football field in North Pole, Alaska. I will remember him and the sacrifice he made for people he didn’t even know that day.

    – Sarah Price
  5. I walked in memory of Robbie yesterday at the 9/11 Stair Climb at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, CO. Thank you letting us know who he was, and thank you for the service and sacrifice of your family. God bless you.

    – Allison Bates
  6. Served with Rob in Bravo 3/319 AFAR, great guy. Every year I remember him and the good times we all had back then driving around in that crappy white truck that he later sold to me. Rob you and your sacrifice will always be remembered, I hope that that gives comfort to your family.

    – David Mahnken
  7. I had the honor of climbing for Robbie at the 9/11 stair climb in Clayton Missouri on September 11, 2016.

    – Aspen Nelson
  8. I had the honor to walk in memory of Robbie today at the 9/11 Stair Climb in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The thought of the sacrifice he and his fellow firefighters made that day still is incomprehensible to me. I was amazed to see his fellow firefighters today in full turnout gear in 80 degree weather climbing in memory of their brethren. Thank you for sharing about his life that was cut way too short.

    – Chris Hugo
  9. I am Robert W. Spear’s aunt. As a liitte boy Robbie was the best behaved & sweetest child I’ve ever known. As a young man, all he ever did was help people. He helped me move at least 3 times & said every time “aunt Phyllis this is the last time” lol. I miss him &
    all that would have happened in his future. Robbie, until we all meet again. I will love you always.
    Love Aunt Phyllis

    – Phyllis Grellman
  10. Your name was featured promently in a popular picture of mine of the WTC Memorial. Your story is incredible and I’m glad I have had the smallest chance to honor your memory.

    Nathaniel Lemke
  11. Today, September 1st 2018, I participated in my first Firefighter stair climb in Melbourne Australia.
    I had the honour of climbing for Robert W Spear Jr, my race bib had Roberts name and picture, so I googled, and found myself here.
    After reading all about him I can see how loved he was and why.
    Robert, you are a hero.
    Thank you and I’m proud to have climbed for you today.

    – Danielle
  12. I climbed for Robert Spear today at Nashville TN 9/11 memorial stair climb. Was a very humbling experience. Was very honored to call his name and ring the bell! God Bless

    – Michael Bean
  13. I climbed 110 flights today for Robert W. Spear Jr. today. It was an honor to do so, and I hope his family and friends know he will never be forgotten.

    – Lindsey Sweeney
  14. I was watching “102 Minutes That Changed America” on The History Channel last night. I saw footage of four firefighters walking to the WTC when I noticed from behind the name “SPEAR” on the back of the jacket of one of them. Seeing that name made me search the memorial list of the 9/11 victims that passed. When I saw your name, I got a chill. Thank you for your sacrifice, Robert.

    – Michael
  15. I also saw a firefighter with the name Spear on the back while watching 102 minutes. I felt like I had to look up the name and my search brought me here. Robbie and all the others that day will always be remembered. A sad day for our Country, but it also brought out a lot of good in people. So thankful for the men and women like Robbie.

    – Kristine
  16. Another year gone by. Talked with my kids this year about Rob and our time in the 82nd ABN DIV gone but not forgotten.

    – David Mahnken
  17. I sure do miss my friends that was there that day. But I know they are looking out for me right now I’m so glad that I got to know y’all and became friends to all of y’all R.I.P LOVE YALL

    – Lori
  18. Lorraine, you are with my thoughts and prayers. Rest In Peace Robert W. Spear Jr.

    – Bonnie Criscione-Brown
  19. On 9/11/2021, I was honored to climb in memory of Robert W. Spear Jr. in the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb in Green Bay, WI. I spent some time before the climb reading about his life. What an incredible man he must have been! Throughout the climb, I remembered him and prayed for his family and friends. Robert’s dedication and sacrifice will not be forgotten. May he rest in peace.

    – Elizabeth Burch
  20. On 4-9-22 I ran in his Honor. This was my first 5k run. No I didn’t train for it. Even though I was out of breath from the start, something made me keep going and to not stop. It was an honor for me after the race to find out about this man.

    – Bobby Jones
  21. I love you and miss you Uncle Robbie wish you were still here with us mom misses you and so does the family.

    – Megan Keane
  22. Today I’m doing the 2022 San Diego 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb. I’m walking in honor of Firefighter Spear today. It’s an honor and I will represent him to the best of my ability.

    – Kobe Schmidt
  23. Countine to remember! Rob was a great guy and every year I talk about him with my kids. When some run away some run to help.

    – David Mahnken