Craig F. Schiffer wanted to become a journalist but learned early on that perhaps that would not be his true calling.
For one thing, said his wife, Toni Schiffer, of East Meadow, he did not like making phone calls.
"My husband was a very good writer but . . . he did not like calling people."
But Schiffer made up for his lack of the aggressive nature common in most reporters with his amazing memory, his love for reading, his thirst for knowledge and his uncanny ability to know trivial tidbits, she said.
Schiffer, 54, died at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore after he was hit by a Suffolk police vehicle Saturday night as he crossed a street in Islip.
Born in Sharon, Connecticut, the son of Vivian and Robert Schiffer, and raised in upstate Wassaic, Schiffer graduated from Webutuck High School before heading on to SUNY New Paltz, where he majored in English and minored in journalism. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1986.
It is in college where he met his soon-to-be wife. Schiffer worked for years for small newspapers like the Southern Dutchess News and the Queens Tribune. He also reported for trade publications like American Metal Market and Electronic Buyer News, his wife said.
But most recently and for the past decade, Schiffer worked for Nikkei News, a Japanese financial news publication. There he rewrote stories that had been translated to English from Japanese "so they all sounded good," his wife said.
"Craig was a pretty quiet guy. Very bright, very smart. He was very well read. Whether it was classics, or fantasies, he was a big reader," she said, adding her husband loved the Mets and the Jets. "He was a loyal fan."
The couple married in 1989 and have two children -- 19-year-old Alex, a sophomore at Columbia College Chicago, and daughter Lauren, a 10th-grader at East Meadow High School.
For Toni Schiffer and those who knew her husband, Schiffer had "an amazing memory" and never lost a Trivial Pursuit game in college.
"If you asked people about Craig, I think a lot of people would say he was the smartest guy they knew," said Toni Schiffer. "This is such a loss. You just can't even imagine. He was a devoted and adoring husband. He didn't care about what anyone was doing, he was not materialistic. He drove a 20-year-old car. He was a man who marched to the beat of his own drum."
Besides his wife and children, Schiffer also is survived by his mother, Vivian Schiffer, of upstate Ancramdale, and siblings, Robert Schiffer of Wassaic, Sharon Fretwell of Wassaic, and Cherie Schiffer of upstate Millerton.
Viewing will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday with services starting at 12:30 p.m. at the Thomas F. Dalton Funeral Home, 2786 Hempstead Tpke., Levittown. Interment will be held in St. Margaret's in Plainview.