Monday, October 22, 2001

Mass held for Trade Center victim

By Randy Tucker
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Fate has not been kind to Ken and Kate Williams. In 1991, the Edgewood, Ky., couple's son, Kenneth, then 23, fell 35 feet from a skywalk as he left a Reds game at Cinergy Field. He died of his injuries in 1994.

Brian Williams's cousins escort his coffin out of St. Pius X Church.
(Craig Ruttle photos)
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        Last month, their 29-year-old son, Brian, was killed when terrorists slammed hijacked planes into the World Trade Center. Brian worked on the 104st floor of Tower 1.

        If the emotional wounds left by the death of one son had begun to heal, they were ripped open again slowly as days went by and the couple began to lose hope that Brian would be found alive.

        Sunday, hundreds of mourners crowded St. Pius X Church in Edgewood to bid farewell to Brian Williams, a graduate of Covington Catholic High School and Columbia University who had worked for the Cantor Fitzgerald brokerage firm in New York since 1994.

        “The biggest question on people's minds is, "Why has this happened again to a family who has already been hit with the death of a child?,'” said the Rev. Brian Wigger, who delivered the homily during the memorial Mass.

img   • Age: 29
  • Family: Survived by parents Ken and Kate Williams of Edgewood, Ky.; a sister, Tara K. Blessing of Elsmere; a brother, Andrew M. Williams of Erlanger; grandparents, Thomas and Florence Burke of Fort Wright; and a nephew. Another brother, Kenneth E. Jr., died in 1994.
  • Education: 1990 graduate of Covington Catholic High School; earned bachelor's degree in economics at Columbia University in 1994.
  • Work: Had been a broker for Cantor Fitzgerald in New York since 1994.
  • Memorials: Kenny and Brian Williams Memorial Fund, c/o Covington Catholic High School, 1600 Dixie Highway, Park Hills, KY 41011.
        “It wasn't some type of judgment. It was an act of terrorism. God did not will for this to happen,” he said.

        Father Wigger sought to console those gathered in the church by telling them that death is “part of the mystery of life” and “only the word of God can offer us consolation and hope.”

        But for many of Brian Williams' friends and family members — most of whom declined to speak with the media at the funeral — there was no solace.

        “Everyone's trying to get along with their lives, but this (memorial service) brings the tragedy up all over again,” said one man who would only identify himself as an uncle.

        Besides his parents, Mr. Williams is survived by a brother, sister, grandparents and a nephew — all in Northern Kentucky.

        Brian Hansen, who was among several close friends who read scriptures during the memorial service, spoke through tears.

Kenneth Williams, Brian's father, wipes tears.
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        A memorial program cover depicted scenes from Mr. Williams' life. Cub Scouts. National Honor Society. Playing football. Singing the theme song from the Beverly Hillbillies during a karaoke event. Becoming an uncle in March of this year. And a heart and rose entwined around the name “Lisa.”

        The family thanked those who have supported them in their own words in a message printed on the back of the memorial program. A poem followed: “Life's gladdest paths are those that end where waits the comfort of a friend. And we have wondered if you knew how glad we are and thankful, too, that our paths met and we found you.”

        It was signed “The Williams Family,” with a drawing of an angel carrying an American flag over the World Trade Center.


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