Judge to decide on Williams' remains

Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2002

INVERNESS, Fla. (AP) -- A judge will be asked to settle the fight over the remains of Ted Williams, whose children are arguing about whether to freeze or cremate the body of the baseball great, a lawyer said.

Attorneys for the estate plan to file Williams' will with the Florida courts this week, said John Heer, a lawyer for Williams' daughter.

The will said Williams wanted to be cremated and have his ashes scattered in the Florida Keys, where he often fished, Heer said from his Cleveland office.

''All versions were consistent,'' he said.

Attorneys for Williams' estate, Pam Price and Bill Boyles, did not return phone calls Tuesday, but Heer said they told him the contents of the will.

Williams, the last major league hitter to bat better than .400 in a season, died Friday in Florida at 83.

His daughter, Barbara Joyce Williams Ferrell, has accused her half brother, John Henry Williams, of moving their father's body from a Florida funeral home to Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Ariz., where bodies are frozen.

Ferrell says John Henry Williams wants to preserve their father's DNA, perhaps to sell it in the future.

The son first proposed the idea of freezing Williams' body more than a year ago, said Ferrell's husband, Frederick ''Mark'' Ferrell.

Mark Ferrell also denied reports that his wife was estranged from her father. He said she had a falling out with her half brother over what to do with their father's body.

''He proposed the cryonics thing to my wife, and she went nuts and said, 'You're not going to do it to my dad,''' Mark Ferrell said. ''There was no estrangement between Ted and his daughter. The estrangement was caused by the cryonics issue in June 2001, and it was caused by John Henry, not Ted Williams.''

Williams and his daughter lived just miles apart but had not seen each other since August, Heer said.

No one answered the phone at John Henry Williams' office, and a business associate said he was out of town earlier this week.

Karla Steen, a spokeswoman for Alcor, would not confirm Monday whether Williams' body was at the facility. Ferrell has said she was told by the funeral home the body had been taken to Arizona.

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