Sarah "Sally" Goodrich, who lost her son in the 9/11 attacks and then used money raised in his memory to help start a school for girls in Afghanistan, died Saturday.
Mrs. Goodrich, 65, a former teacher, died of cancer at her home in Bennington, Vt.
"The idea that we could go to Afghanistan where the Afghan people were taken advantage of by al-Qaeda, manipulated, and where the planning for our son's death took place, and provide an alternative way of looking at the world, was very appealing to us," said her husband, Donald Goodrich.
Their 33-year-old son, Peter, was aboard the second plane that hit the World Trade Center. Struggling in 2004 with how to memorialize him with the $49,000 donated in his memory by family and friends, they helped start the school in Afghanistan.
The idea came from an e-mail from a neighbor, a friend of her late son, who was serving as a U.S. Marine in Afghanistan. He wrote of a school that needed supplies, which prompted Mrs. Goodrich to get involved.
David Edwards, a professor of anthropology at Williams College and an Afghanistan expert, at first tried to discourage Mrs. Goodrich after seeing a lot of well-intentioned projects go awry. But before he knew it, he had agreed to go to Logar province to inspect a site.
"Sally had a kind of relentlessness to her," he said.
Edwards ended up connecting her with Afghanistan's deputy minister of interior - his former research assistant. The Goodriches went on to build a school for $230,000.
Mrs. Goodrich visited Afghanistan numerous times, met struggling Afghans, and regained a sense of hope. "I found that suffering is a universal language that allows for a greater understanding," she told the AP in 2006.
The Goodriches also helped to bring at least 14 exchange students from Afghanistan to schools, many of them staying in their small Vermont home during the summer and holidays. The students have gone on to get college scholarships.