Williams wanted to be frozen, according to family pact
Thursday, July 25th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ Almost four years after signing a will calling for his cremation, baseball great Ted Williams entered a pact with two of his children asking that his body be frozen, according to court documents filed Thursday.
Williams' scrawled signature, along with those of son John Henry and daughter Claudia, appears at the bottom of a handwritten note on a scrap of paper dated Nov. 2, 2000.
``JHW, Claudia and Dad all agree to be put into bio-stasis after we die,'' reads the pact, written with a ballpoint blue pen. ``This is what we want, to be able to be together in the future, even if it is only a chance.''
Family attorney Bob Goldman said the note was written in a Gainesville hospital room before the Hall of Fame slugger had a pacemaker installed.
The attorney said John Henry Williams wrote the note and that it would supersede the wishes detailed in Williams' 1996 will.
The slugger's three children have been fighting over his remains since he died July 5 at the age of 83. John Henry Williams has had his father's body preserved at a cryonics lab in Arizona, where the dead are frozen in the hope they can be resurrected someday.
Bobby-Jo Williams Ferrell, the half-sister of John Henry and Claudia, wants to retrieve her father's body, cremate it and sprinkle his ashes off Florida's coast, as Williams' will dictates.
In a statement Thursday, John Henry and Claudia Williams said: ``With relief we have provided the court with clear-cut, definitive evidence that our father's last wishes have been carried out and we hope this will bring closure to this issue.''
The note has several small dark stains. Goldman said John Henry Williams had folded the note and left it in some files in the trunk of his car for an extended time, and the mystery stains were picked up there.
``I'm comfortable that it was authentic because my clients were there,'' Goldman said, without further detailing any way of authenticating the note.
``We wanted to keep this matter private,'' he added. ``We wanted to work it out in the family living room with all the kids participating and understanding these wishes, and then move on as most families do. Bobby Jo hasn't allowed us to do that.''
Messages left for Ferrell and her attorney were not immediately returned Thursday.
The Arizona lab, the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, doesn't guarantee the preservation process and admits the technology to revive a person doesn't exist.
Williams, according to his children, didn't shy from that risk.
``His attitude was, 'If there is a chance that we can be reunited in the future, let's take it,''' John Henry and Claudia Williams said in their statement.
The siblings also denied Ferrell's accusation that John Henry Williams wanted his father frozen so they could profit off selling his DNA.
``These accusations have been particularly painful,'' the statement said.