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Slugger's estate sues his daughter

The suit claims Bobby Jo and Mark Ferrell violated a settlement agreement by publicly opposing the freezing of Ted Williams' body.

By Associated Press
Published May 14, 2004

The executor of Ted Williams' estate has sued the late slugger's oldest daughter and her husband, alleging they violated an agreement by repeatedly voicing their opposition to the placement of Williams' body in deep freeze at an Arizona lab.

The lawsuit said Bobby Jo and Mark Ferrell have continued to publicize their objections through public statements, despite Bobby Jo's agreeing in late 2002 to drop her opposition to the decision by her siblings John Henry Williams and Claudia Williams to send the body to the Alcor Life Extension Foundation.

The lawsuit filed Monday by executor Albert Cassidy in Citrus County seeks an injunction stopping Bobby Jo Ferrell from publicizing her objections, dismissal of a lawsuit she filed against Alcor and unspecified damages.

"Bobby Jo Ferrell's actions are wrongful, in bad faith," the lawsuit said. It also seeks to have Mark Ferrell stop speaking on his wife's behalf against keeping her father's body frozen.

"She signed a settlement agreement and we're seeking enforcement of that agreement," said Peter Sutton, a Boston attorney and a trustee for one of John Henry Williams' trusts.

Mark Ferrell said Thursday he didn't want to comment on the lawsuit but he called the agreement "a sham from the beginning." He added that he wasn't bound to the agreement since he didn't sign it.

"I have a First Amendment right under the U.S. Constitution," he said. "Anywhere I want in this country, if I see wrong, I have a right to speak out. That's my God-given right."

His wife is prohibited from talking to reporters about her father's body under the agreement.

Mark Ferrell also said in a telephone interview that he and his wife had talked recently to Mets catcher Mike Piazza, who has promised to help them gain the release of Ted Williams' body from Alcor.

"The hope is that Ted Williams can one day be laid to rest in a dignified and respectful manner befitting a true American hero," Piazza told the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., in Thursday's editions. "Right now I'm just a quiet supporter."

Bobby Jo Ferrell sued to have her father's will followed after Ted Williams died in July 2002.

She dropped the legal challenge several months later after the agreement was signed, saying she couldn't afford the legal fight.

Williams, an avid fisherman, said in his will that he wanted to be cremated and his ashes scattered in the ocean off Florida.

Ferrell's siblings maintained they signed a handwritten pact with the slugger in 2000, years after the will was written, agreeing that their bodies would be frozen.

Shortly after Williams died at 83, John Henry had his father's body moved to the Alcor facility. Cryonics supporters say bodies might one day be brought back to life.

Most experts say that is highly unlikely.

[Last modified May 14, 2004, 01:01:19]

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