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Wednesday, 17 July, 2002, 03:35 GMT 04:35 UK
Row deepens over baseball star's remains
Bobby-Jo Williams Ferrell with Ted Williams
Williams' daughter wants her father cremated
A court in Florida has been asked to decide the fate of deceased US baseball legend Ted Williams, whose body is at the centre of a family feud.

The former Boston Red Sox star's children have been involved in a public dispute over what to do with their father's remains after Mr Williams' son had his father's corpse frozen in a laboratory.


After the time of his will, Ted chose to have his body cryonically preserved

Albert Cassidy, Ted Williams' executor
Mr Williams' daughter, Bobby-Jo Williams Ferrell, has accused her brother, John Henry Williams, of going against her father's wishes and wanting to make money out of his death.

The disagreement deepened on Tuesday when the executor of Mr Williams' estate said the sportsman had wanted his body to be frozen, contradicting what he said in his will.

Will in doubt

The dispute began after Mr Williams died in Inverness, Florida, on 5 July, 2002, at the age of 83.

John Henry Williams
John Henry Williams had his father's body preserved

John Henry Williams had Ted Williams' body shipped to a cryonics laboratory in Scottsdale, Arizona, against his sister's wishes.

Ms Ferrell speculated that John Henry Williams, her half-brother, wanted to sell her father's DNA and protested about the move.

Ms Ferrell's lawyer, Richard Fitzpatrick, said she "remains convinced that her father's last wishes were to be cremated and to have his ashes spread over the deep waters off the coast of Florida".

In his will, which was made public on Tuesday, Ted Williams said he wanted his body to be cremated and his ashes scattered in the waters off the Florida Keys.

But his executor, Albert Cassidy, said the legendary hitter had subsequently changed his mind.

"After the time of his will, Ted chose to have his body cryonically preserved," he said.

Mr Cassidy asked the Citrus County Court to determine whether Mr Williams' body should remain frozen or be disposed of in another way.

Family meeting

Ms Ferrell, John Henry Williams and his sister Claudia Williams met for several hours on Monday to try to resolve the dispute, but the meeting ended without agreement.

Ted Williams in 1941
The "Splendid Splinter" was enrolled in the Baseball Hall of Fame

Mr Fitzpatrick said that during the meeting Ms Ferrell learnt she had been left out of Mr Williams' will because, according to Ted Williams, "I have provided for her during my life."

But, speaking outside the courthouse, the lawyer told reporters: "You can safely assume [Ms Ferrell] will do whatever she can to make sure her father's wishes are honoured."

A lawyer for John Henry Williams said he believed the family could still reach an understanding on the issue and that Ted Williams' children could resolve the matter in private.

See also:

26 Feb 02 | Europe
12 Apr 01 | Europe
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