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No funeral for Ted Williams

Red Sox plan a memorial, and there are reports his son wants cryogenics for the ex-baseball great.

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 7, 2002

CRYSTAL RIVER -- No funeral services are planned for Ted Williams, his attorney said Saturday, as a dispute arose over the plans for the remains of the baseball great.

Williams died Friday at age 83.

"Ted Williams was a private person in life, and in death he wished to remain private," Eric Abel, Williams' attorney, said in a statement. "He did not wish to have any funeral or funeral services."

Red Sox officials said they have tentatively scheduled a memorial celebration on July 22 at Fenway Park, Williams' homefield for 19 seasons.

Williams' estranged daughter accused her half-brother, John Henry Williams, of planning to cryogenically freeze their father's body and preserve his DNA, perhaps to sell in the future.

Barbara Joyce Williams Ferrell, in a story first reported by the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald, said John Henry first brought up cryogenics after Williams' open-heart surgery in 2001.

"He said the way they're going with medical science and DNA, we could freeze dad's body, or we can freeze his head," Ferrell said. "He said we could sell the DNA.

"I told him (Dad is) against cryogenics. It is very immoral. I said I was against it and I would stand against it."

Later Saturday, Ferrell told the Associated Press she was told by a "very important person" at Hooper's Funeral Home in Inverness that her father's body had been moved to Scottsdale, Ariz., the day before. She would not identify the person.

"My father's body was put on a plane (Friday) with people from Alcor," Ferrell said, referring to Alcor Life Extension Foundation, a provider of cryonics services.

"My father's body was picked up yesterday, transported to Ocala and he was accompanied by a Mr. David Hayes of Alcor to Scottsdale. All I know is that," Ferrell said. "I'm imagining they were trying to keep it quiet.

"I will rescue my father's body. Me and my attorney are working on that," she said.

Ferrell, Ted Williams' oldest child, said John Henry Williams approached her last year about possibly freezing the body at the Alcor facility, which has frozen 49 bodies. The company charges $120,000 to freeze the whole body, and $50,000 for the head only, according to the Web site. The company suggests donating life insurance polices to pay for suspension.

Dwight Hooper, vice president of the funeral home, said he could not comment on whether the body was still at the funeral home or somewhere else because Williams' family has requested privacy on the matter.

"I'm physically able to comment, but I'm not going to," Hooper said. "I'm not at liberty to comment. I'm not going to get in the middle of the family."

A spokeswoman for Alcor said the company would not comment.

"I have not spoken to any member of that family," Karla Steen, Alcor's marketing director, said. She said it was possible the Williams' DNA transaction could have been handled by the center, but she had heard nothing about it. And "even if someone (at Alcor) had spoken to a family member on the subject, we have a policy to never discuss anything about our patients or their family members. Period."

John Henry Williams did not return a phone message Saturday.

At the request of the Williams family, instead of sending flowers, donations are asked to be made to the Jimmy Fund, a Boston-based charity, or the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame in Hernando.

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