Ted Williams' will calls for cremation

July 16, 2002 at 4:34 PM
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INVERNESS, Fla., July 16 (UPI) -- The 1996 will of baseball Hall of Famer Ted Williams was filed in probate court Tuesday and calls for cremation, but the executor of the estate said Williams changed his mind later and wanted to be frozen cryogenically.

That is expected to set up a court battle between Williams' oldest daughter and her half-brother and half-sister.

Albert Cassidy, the executor, known in Florida as the personal representative, also petitioned Citrus County, Fla., circuit court to settle the issue.

The will said, "I direct that my remains be cremated and my ashes be scattered at sea."

But Cassidy said Williams changed his mind later and said he wanted to be frozen.

"As stated in my petition to the court, based on what I know and believe, after the time of his will, Ted chose to have his body cryonically preserved," Cassidy said. "While many may not make the same choice for themselves, I hope people will respect this as a private family matter."

The will also cuts out Bobby-Joe Ferrell, saying that he took care of her adequately during his life.

Ferrell is expected to fight the decision to have Williams cremated, which was made at least in part by Williams' son John Henry Williams and his sister Claudia, the products of a subsequent marriage. Ferrell said all of John Henry's actions were motivated by greed, but Cassidy said that is not true.

"As a lifelong friend of Ted Williams and the Williams family, I take my responsibilities in this matter very seriously. I was very close to Ted, especially during the final years of his life. I know that nothing made him happier than his relationship with John Henry and Claudia," Cassidy said.

"I saw first-hand their devotion to their dad and I know that Ted would be hurt by some of the things that have been said about them," he said. "I am confident that their actions are inspired by their love for their father."

The two sides and their attorneys met for 11 hours Monday, but failed to reach an agreement on what to do with the body.

Williams, considered one of the best hitters in the history of baseball if not the best, died of cardiac arrest July 5 after years of heart trouble and a serious stroke.

Ferrell said that hours after his death, her father's body was sent to Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Ariz., where it was frozen at minus 320 degrees Farenheit so it could be revived later.

She said John Henry Williams hopes to sell Williams' DNA or profit some other way from his fame. But Jerry Lemler, director of Alcor said many of the schemes that have been mentioned aren't possible, especially if they involve cloning.

He said it wasn't necessary to preserve the DNA because that could be done by snipping a strand of hair or a fingernail.

Ferrell said Williams had said for years he wanted to be cremated and the remains spread over the Florida Keys where the former baseball slugger spent many of his retirement years fishing.

The will seemed to back up that contention, but the matter is expected to be resolved in court.

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