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Williams' Daughter Seeks Aid From Bushes, Glenn

Cryonics: President, former president and former astronaut don't take sides in controversy.

July 12, 2002|LANCE PUGMIRE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The controversy over baseball great Ted Williams' body heightened Thursday when his oldest daughter requested intervention from President Bush, his former president father and former astronaut John Glenn, who served in the Marines with Williams during the Korean War.

Williams died a week ago.

Bobby-Jo Ferrell, Williams' daughter, said attorneys are expected to appear in a Florida court, possibly today but no later than Monday, to argue that Williams' frozen body should be removed from Alcor Life Extension Foundation, a cryonics laboratory in Scottsdale, Ariz. She said Williams' will stipulates that his body is to be cremated and his ashes scattered in the waters of the Florida Keys, where he once fished with former president George Bush.

Ferrell alleges her father's body was ordered moved to Alcor by her half-brother, John Henry Williams, for possible financial gain.

"John Glenn appreciated my daddy being his wingman [in the Korean War]," Ferrell said in a letter sent to media outlets. "I want John Glenn to come forward now and come to his friend's aid. President Bush and his father need to come forward and 'work in this campaign' for your old friend--like he worked for you."

In a prepared statement, former Sen. Glenn (D-Ohio) said, "In my visits and conversations with my friend, Ted Williams, we discussed his recovery and living. We had no conversations regarding his wishes for the handling of his remains. Ted Williams, above all else, loved his family, and they loved him as well.

"I am confident the bonds of family will guide them to a resolution of this very painful issue."

A White House spokesman said President Bush had made no statement regarding Ferrell's request. A spokesman for former president George Bush said he was not available for an interview Thursday.

John Henry Williams, 33, has not spoken publicly since his father's death, but Ryan Richeal, director of Florida operations for the Boston Red Sox, said he'd had a five-minute conversation with John Henry on Thursday. John Henry was playing for the Red Sox's rookie-level minor league team in Fort Myers, Fla., when his father died. He is recovering from a broken rib suffered in his second game.

"[John Henry] just said over and over how it's a shame how this has happened this way," Richeal said. "He told me he went to Milwaukee for the All-Star game [Tuesday], but it became obvious when he got there that there was going to be a negative cloud over the night if he showed up for his dad's ceremony. So he didn't go [to Miller Park]."

Richeal said he hadn't asked John Henry about his reaction to the controversy, why he wanted his father's body kept at Alcor, or when he might be willing to discuss the subject.

Sherri Mosley, Williams' granddaughter and Ferrell's daughter, said the contents of Ted Williams' will "have put the momentum in our corner," regardless of potential involvement by the Bush family or Glenn.

"The next thing we have to address is how we're going to get my grandfather's body out of that warehouse [Alcor]," Mosley said. "Freezing a body is one thing. Thawing it out is another. I don't know what to expect."

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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