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Joshua Aron

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At age 7, Joshua Aron would sit at the kitchen table bent over a copy of The Wall Street Journal, analyzing the stock tables with his chocolate milk. "I explained what makes it go up and down," said his mother, Ruth Aron. "He loved to do puzzles, and to him it was just another puzzle." Fast forward two decades. Mr. Aron was an equities trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, facing a bank of computer screens. When there was a break in the action, he sent love notes to his wife, Rachel, by instant messenger. "We were best friends," Mrs. Aron said. "Everything just came naturally." Mr. Aron's intense, childlike enthusiasm made him a blur of activity in the kitchen, on a bike, or researching new fascinations on the Internet. He delighted in life's details, repainting his Upper West Side apartment, installing a 200-bottle wine closet and a 90- inch projection-screen television. Even in the high-stakes world of finance, Mr. Aron, 29, remained playful, quoting liberally from Austin Powers movies ("Would they be ill-tempered sea bass?"). If Mrs. Aron was upset, he would cheer her up by promising to help get back at her tormentors. "You want to get 'em?" he would ask with mock intensity. "Come on, let's get 'em right now."