Gavin Cushny: All Things
Cushny, the son of an Episcopal priest from England,
considered America paradise. Randy Yates, from
California, was interested in everything British.
Naturally, when the two young men met, as students at the
University of St. Andrews in Scotland 25 years ago, they
became close friends.
Mr. Cushny complained bitterly about Britain &emdash;
the dreary weather, the lack of central heating, the
ancient plumbing. "He wanted to know a lot about
California &emdash; what the homes were like, how they
were built, why the plumbing didn't vibrate at night,"
Mr. Yates said.
The two friends talked of moving to California
together, but Mr. Cushny instead settled in New York
City, where he eventually went to work on the 104th floor
of the World Trade Center, as a programmer for eSpeed.
"He loved what he considered the emotional honesty of
Americans," Mr. Yates said.
His friend had an American's devotion to
self-improvement. He studied math at Columbia, with the
idea of perhaps getting an engineering degree. He took
acting classes as a way of overcoming his stage fright.
He had regular sessions with a therapist. One of the
things he was working out, Mr. Yates said, was his
relationship with his strict and intellectually demanding
father, who died last year.
"Gavin was committed to emotional and intellectual
growth," said his fiancée, Susann Brady, who was
to have married Mr. Cushny, 47, on Oct. 26, and instead
buried him. "He encouraged that in other people, too. If
we had differences, he was always open to talking about