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Passenger: Mark "Mickey" Rothenberg

Sunday, October 28, 2001

One night several years ago, Mark Rothenberg found himself at a Beverly Hills restaurant with comedian Jackie Mason.

Mark "Mickey" Rothenberg
dot.gifOwner, MDR Global Resources, 52, Scotch Plains, N.J.
Wife, Meredith; daughters Sara, Rachel
He was on his way to Taiwan for business

Ever the consummate salesman, the outgoing Rothenberg introduced himself to the funnyman as he had done so many times before to celebrities, often to the embarrassment of his wife, Meredith.

They talked for a bit, and then Rothenberg drove to his hotel. At 2 in the morning, the phone rang. It was Mason, asking about his car.

Both men had rented the same style Mercedes -- black, like the cashmere sweaters Rothenberg favored -- and the parking valet had mixed them up.

Rothenberg had a million such stories, the product of an extroverted personality and the go-go pace of a salesman on the move.

Since graduating from Franklin & Marshall College in 1970, Rothenberg had worked with his father in their Brooklyn, N.Y. glassware company, becoming the chief salesman before taking over the business.

He had inherited his father's intense work ethic and his devotion to family. Rothenberg racked up huge phone bills when his oldest daughter, Rachel, lived in Portugal. And he devoted himself to his widowed mother, Dorothy, calling her two or three times a day.

Rothenberg had a mind like a calculator. He could reel off shipping costs, prices and percentages without consulting a computer. If he dialed a phone number once, he never forgot it.

Zipping around Scotch Plains, N.J. in his brand-new BMW convertible, Rothenberg was enjoying the fruits of his new venture, an import business. A few years ago, he had sold the glassware concern and launched his own company, traveling frequently to Asia.

Rothenberg could conk out instantly on those long trips - always upgrading his ticket to first class by cashing in his enormous amount of frequent flyer mileage - but a lower back problem would leave him hardly able to walk when he woke up on the other side of the world.

With his pack-a-day cigarette habit and optimist's bent, Rothenberg would race through a normal workday, eat dinner, and then labor half the night talking to Asia.

Meredith Rothenberg doesn't understand why her husband, who lived by the phone, didn't call her from the plane.

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