Working long hours as both a businessman and an ordained minister at Christ Church of Oak Brook, Jeffrey Mladenik often reserved flight time for reading his Bible, friends said.
They believe he may have been doing so when American Airlines Flight 11 turned from its Boston-to-Los Angeles route and headed for New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, where it slammed into the north tower of the World Trade Center after terrorists took the controls.
Mladenik, 43, had recently become the interim chief executive officer of eLogic, an internet publishing company in Los Angeles.
He lived in Hinsdale with his wife and four children. The couple’s adoption of a baby in China was underway; the child joined the family almost a year after Mladenik was killed.
Mladenik had received an MBA from North Central College in Naperville and a master’s degree in theology from Wheaton College in 1995.
Memorials on the Wheaton College campus honor Mladenik and fellow alumni and 9/11 victims Jason Oswald and Todd Beamer.
Oswald was part of the Class of 1995, getting his undergraduate degree the same year that Mladenik received his master’s. An employee of Cantor Fitzgerald Securities, Oswald was on the 101st floor of the north tower when the flight carrying Mladenik crashed into it.
Speaking on the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin quoted Mladenik’s parents:
“I can guarantee that Jeff would tell us that hatred and bitterness must not have the last word.”