Our Heroes

BY Mubarak Dahir

September 11 2011 4:00 AM ET

Mark Bingham XLRG (DO NOT USE) | ADVOCATE.COMCarol Flyzik
Plaistow, N.H.

Her passions were human rights, her Victorian home, and, of course, her partner.

Carol Flyzik took a long weekend off from work before September 11, when she was scheduled to fly to Los Angeles to give a series of product demonstrations. She just wanted to spend some quality time at her Plaistow, N.H., home with her partner of nearly 13 years, Nancy Walsh. “We had a lovely weekend,” Walsh remembers. “We went to the beach, and we had a wonderful lobster dinner on the porch.”

Refreshed from the weekend, Flyzik got up at 5 a.m. that Tuesday morning in order to catch her flight in Boston. Before heading out the door she gave Walsh a hug and a kiss and promised to give her a call from L.A. But her plane, American Airlines Flight 11, never made it to California. It was the first of two to crash into the World Trade Center.

Both registered nurses, Flyzik and Walsh met while working in the same hospital emergency room. Their relationship started off as a friendship—Walsh was married at the time, with three children. But after six months, Walsh says, it was obvious there was an attraction between the two that just grew “stronger and stronger.”

Eventually Flyzik moved in with Walsh and her children, who, Walsh says, learned to love Flyzik as another parent. After about 10 years, when the kids had grown up, the couple moved to Flyzik’s Victorian home, which they were busy remodeling.

The 40-year-old Flyzik made a career change too. She started working as the supervisor of marketing for Meditech Inc. in Framingham, Mass., where friends and coworkers remember her as a gregarious woman who loved her job and enjoyed interacting with others.

A member of the Human Rights Cam­paign, the nation’s largest gay and lesbian civil rights organization, Flyzik was also a strong human rights advocate. In fact, the couple often planned their vacations around gay rights celebrations throughout the country. This past summer they had gone to San Diego for that city’s pride celebration. They did the same the previous year in Washington, D.C.

“She was just a wonderful human being who wanted people to accept her for who she was,” Walsh says. “Carol would have been so proud that this was being covered in The Advocate. That would have been very important to her.”