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Among Dead Were the Loyal, Caring, Positive and Helpful

January 28, 2005

All 11 victims killed in the Metrolink train crash have been accounted for. Identified on Wednesday were Scott McKeown, 42, of Moorpark; James Tutino, 47, of Simi Valley; Elizabeth Hill, 65, of Van Nuys; Julia Bennett, 44, of Simi Valley; and Manuel D. Alcala, 51, of West Hills.

The other six were identified Thursday, including William Parent, 53, of Canoga Park (see separate story) and the following:

Henry Kilinski: Aspiring Firefighter Was Upbeat

Henry Kilinski, UCLA sports fan and aspiring firefighter, was the kind of man "who knew how to put a smile on your face," said his sister, Valerie. "He was always so positive and up."

Kilinski, 39, traveled from his home in Orange to his job in insurance claims at Allianz Global Risk in Burbank. He often took the train for the 40-mile commute, said his stepdaughter, Natalie Walker.

He had done so Wednesday because it was raining. His family urged him to take the train when the weather was bad, Walker said, "because it was safer."

Valerie Kilinski said that she turned on the news yesterday morning and learned of the crash on the Metrolink route that her younger brother regularly took to work. She said she called his cellphone, but got no answer. "I was hoping he was already at the office," she said.

The Kilinski family was together at the command center when they finally got news late Wednesday of Henry's death.

Family members remembered him Thursday as a man devoted to his parents and sisters. He wasn't necessarily a fan of dance, said his stepdaughter, but he attended every one of her performances.

Kilinski married Walker's mother, Candace, two years ago -- after 12 years of dating. "He was a gentleman, manly, always kind, and always cared about others before himself. He loved my mom with all of his heart."

Alfonso Caballero: City Worker a Loving Father

Friends and family remembered Alfonso Caballero, 62, an accountant for the city of Los Angeles Department of Aging, as a loving father who dressed impeccably and loved to golf and sing.

Caballero and his wife, Victoria, would have celebrated their 30-year anniversary in July. The Winnetka couple moved to the United States from the Philippines in 1989, according to his nephew, Rex deGuia. He had three children: Clarissa, 29; Carlo, 25; and Catherine, 21. He has an 8-month-old granddaughter, Alexis Paige. "He was a very loving father and loyal husband," deGuia said. "He really just enjoyed his family."

Co-workers Margaret Tarin said Caballero "always had a smile and a kind word for you."

Another co-worker, John Robinson, remembered how he jokingly introduced Caballero as "my dad," as a compliment to the "good man, devoted father and husband that he was."

Thomas Ormiston: Conductor Was Helpful

Thomas Ormiston, 58, of Northridge, was conductor of the 901 Metrolink train. He had been an Amtrak employee since 1992, said Sarah Swain, a spokeswoman for the company.

David Solow, chief operating officer for Metrolink, which has contracts with Amtrak employees, said many of Ormiston's co-workers remembered him as a great employee who rarely complained and was always willing to help. "To us, Thomas Ormiston was a part of our Metrolink family," Solow said. "Our thoughts today are with his other family at this sad time. Thomas will be deeply missed by his colleagues. But the death of this fine conductor will be felt most acutely by the passengers he served so well."

Leonard Romero: Noted for Practical Jokes

Leonard Romero, 53, started commuting by train about a month ago because he thought it was safer than driving, said niece Karel Molina. He took the Metrolink train from Rancho Cucamonga to Glendale, where he worked around the corner from the train station at a pipefitting company.

An ex-Marine, Romero had a son, 13, and two daughters, 17 and 19. He and his wife, Soraya, had been married 21 years.

Romero belonged to a tight-knit family and his practical jokes kept his friends and family laughing. "If there was a party and he wasn't there it was a letdown for everybody," Molina said. "It's a big loss. It's not fair."

Don Wiley: Co-Workers Call Him 'Nice Guy'

Don Wiley has been tentatively identified as the 11th victim of Wednesday's deadly train derailment, co-workers said Thursday after talking to family members.

Wiley, 58, worked as an information technology specialist at PayPoint, which develops electronic payment systems for businesses. "It's pretty somber around here because he's a nice guy," said Jeff Campbell, an administrative assistant.

Because the body was severely burned in the fire that accompanied the crash, the coroner's office said dental records would have to be used to make a positive identification.

Ilona Bell, administrative secretary at United Methodist Church in Simi Valley, said family members told the church late Wednesday that Wiley had died in the derailment. Wiley, who had been attending the church for six years, was an usher and greeted people on Sundays as they entered services, Bell said.


Times staff writers Cara Mia DiMassa, Erika Hayasaki, Patrick McGreevy, Daniel Hernandez, Gregory W. Griggs and Patricia Ward Biederman, and Associated Press, contributed to this report.

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