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Robert Croteau



The morning after The Station nightclub burned down, killing 98 people, Robert Croteau's sister-in-law and one of his four brothers spoke to television news crews about his life, and struggled to come to grips with his death. Croteau, 41, of Fall River, was one of the first victims identified after the Feb. 20 fire, so his family was one of the first to be tracked down by the media. Although his father, Harvey Croteau, declined to talk on camera, he is sure his son would have enjoyed the spectacle.

"Honestly, he would have loved all of the attention," Croteau said.

He said his son was a huge sports fan who loved professional wrestling, and his favorite "superstar" was The Rock. When it came to music, it was also rock, especially the heavy metal music of Great White.

"He was a good kid. This is a tragedy," his father said. "He loved life and was very inquisitive, kind of pain-in-the-neck inquisitive."

His personality bordered on obsessive, his father said, citing his son's love of the Washington Redskins as an example. Just about everything Robert owned -- from hats to blankets -- included a Redskins logo, his father said.

But it is his son's smile that he will carry with him forever.

"To be honest," he said, "he had a funny smile."