Our Heroes

BY Mubarak Dahir

September 11 2011 4:00 AM ET

Joseph Ferguson xlrg (do not use) | ADVOCATE.COM

Graham Berkeley

The software developer and concert violinist loved life and knew how to have a good time.

Every time Graham Berkeley parted from his boyfriend, Tim Fristoe, he was sure to say, “I love you.”

 “It was just one aspect of his intensely romantic personality,” the 37-year-old Fristoe says through tears.

September 11 was no different. Berkeley, 37, director of product development for software giant Compuware, declared his love to Fristoe before boarding United Flight 175 in Boston to attend a software conference in Los Angeles. His plane was the second to crash into the World Trade Center.

Fristoe, who lives in Provincetown, had just met Berkeley over the July 4 holiday at Spiritus, a popular local pizza joint. “It was cruise central,” he says. He had seen Berkeley, who lived in Boston, several times earlier in the summer and had made a point to meet him: “I thought he was just so beautiful.”

Born and raised in Great Britain, Berkeley had been a U.S. resident for more than 10 years. “He loved America and was proud to live here,” Fristoe says. He also was enraptured with American kitsch and pop culture, including South Park and Sex and the City.

Before working with Compuware, Berkeley was a concert violinist. A graduate of London’s Royal College of Music, he had played in the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. His other passions included opera and the theater, and he would frequently go to New York City to catch shows, according to Brian Reiser, a 27-year-old telecommunications manager who says Berkeley planned to move to New York this fall. “He loved the energy of this city.”

His good times were hardly limited to orchestra halls and theaters, however. Berkeley was also fond of dancing into the early morning at famous New York gay nightclubs such as Twilo and the Roxy. When he removed his shirt on the dance floor, as he often did, he revealed a toned body with a Maori tribal tattoo that spread from his left chest to his back.

Fristoe says admirers sometimes took the liberty of touching his boyfriend’s tattoos and skin, something Berkeley professed to dislike. “But I know he reveled in the attention,” he says, adding that Berkeley also protested when being tickled but truly enjoyed that too. “He loved to laugh.”