Families of Two Crash Victims Share A Connection Beyond Their Sorrow

By Yamiche Alcindor
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 2, 2009

As Janice Williams laid her son to rest yesterday, she was comforted by another mother whose child also was a victim of last week's deadly Metro crash.

Williams and Tawanda Brown met while making funeral arrangements at National Harmony Memorial Park in Landover. Williams was there to plan services for her son, Cameron Taihi "Tai" Williams, 37. Brown's daughter, LaVonda "Nikki" King, 23, was the crash's youngest victim. The two women formed an unusual bond, they said.

"I stayed there for hours as they took the bodies off the train," Brown said yesterday during the funeral for Williams at Bible Way Temple in Northwest Washington. "I believe that together our families can get through this."

More than 200 mourners gathered yesterday to remember Williams; King was buried Tuesday.

Moments before the service began, Janice Williams, adorned in a black dress, leaned over her son's casket and kissed him on the cheek for the last time. When the casket was closed, the celebration of his life began.

"This is not a sad day," she said. "This is a home-going service. He's gone home to be with the Lord."

Williams said she remembers her son for his love of music and kind heart.

Dark blue and beige flowers adorned his navy blue casket as mourners packed the small church. A contract laborer from Takoma Park, Williams was remembered as an avid sports lover and musician who often e-mailed friends and family photos of himself at various events. Most in the crowd sat smiling and laughing; others, overcome by the suddenness of his death, burst into tears.

"I enjoyed every moment with him," longtime friend Reginald Johnson said. "He was genuine."

Williams grew up in the city and graduated from Coolidge High School.

The Rev. Ronald Demery Jr., whose friendship with Williams dates to their time in elementary school together, delivered the eulogy. "How many of you thank God for 37 years with Cameron?" he said.

In addition to his mother, Williams is survived by four younger brothers, Eric, Aaron, Kevin and Isaiah Williams.

Isaiah Williams, at 26 the youngest brother, said his family and Nikki King's had bonded over the experience.

"It's really hard, but her family will definitely be part of my family," he said. "He was my best friend. This is something that brings us together."

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