Ogletree was a food handler with Forte Food Service who was assigned to Cantor Fitzgerald’s cafeteria in the North Tower when an airliner slammed into the building on the morning of September 11, 2001. He was one of 2,753 people killed in the twin towers. that day – and one of only two whose portraits were missing from the gallery. In September 2016, with seven still to be found, The New York Times published an article that prompted Department of Homeland Security officials to locate photographs of five of them.
Only the photographs of Ogletree and a Forte Food colleague, Antonio Dorsey Pratt, remained to be found.
Jan Seidler Ramirez, the museum’s executive vice president and chief curator, said Ogletree’s research had languished until the museum hired Grant Rodriguez Llera to work in its visitor services department, answering questions people who pay tribute to him. Llera had self-published a book – ‘Remember Me: The Passengers and Crew of Flight 93’, about the passengers of the hijacked plane that crashed in Pennsylvania after telling relatives by cellphone that they planned to storm the cockpit. “Much of what is said about 9/11 omits individual names and individual stories, which I think are deeply important,” he said.
So he offered to try to find a photograph of Ogletree.
“There wasn’t much to do,” Llera said. The museum knew he was born on Christmas Day in 1951 and grew up in Romulus, Michigan, halfway between Detroit and Ann Arbor. The museum was also aware that it had moved to New York in the 1980s.
Llera discovered an obituary for Ogletree’s wife, who died in 2004. It mentioned a daughter, which he found on Facebook.
“He was a camera-shy man, she said,” Llera recalled, “and lived apart from the family in a rented room” in the fall of 2001. When Ogletree didn’t return home , “his belongings were disposed of by the owner without contacting the family,” Llera added, “so if there were any photos or personal belongings of him, they were lost.”
Llera did a search on ancestry.com and found an old address for Ogletree in Romulus. “I decided to try my luck in the dark and contact the local high school,” Llera said. “I told them, based on Al’s date of birth, that he would have attended school there in the early to mid-60s.” He asked if anyone could look at the directory.