4 Metro-North derailment victims remembered in vigil

Josh Einiger reports from the Bronx.
December 4, 2013 6:17:52 PM PST
Wake and funeral plans for the four people who were killed in the Metro-North commuter train derailment have been released.

The victims were identified as:

  • Donna L. Smith, 54, of Newburgh, N.Y.

  • James G. Lovell, 58, of Cold Spring, N.Y.

  • James M. Ferrari, 59, of Montrose, N.Y.

  • Kisook Ahn, 35, of Queens, N.Y

    Three of the dead were found outside the train, and one was found inside, authorities said. Autopsies were scheduled for Monday, said the New York City medical examiner's office.


    Lovell, an audio technician, was traveling from his Cold Spring home to midtown Manhattan to work on the famed Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, said longtime friend Janet Barton.

    The "Today" show expressed condolences to the family of Lovell, a married father of four who had worked on the program and other NBC shows. "He always had a smile on his face and was quick to share a friendly greeting," ''Today" executive producer Don Nash said in a message to staff.

    In the rural community of Cold Spring, friends are like a close knit family and they descended on the Lovell house where 17-year-old Finn spoke about his dad, Jim.

    "It's just sad that he's gone, not only was he my father, but he was one of my closest friends," said Finn, "everything you could ask for in a dad."

    Hearing about the derailment , Lovell's wife, Nancy Montgomery a local councilwoman rushed to the scene.

    Finn's tweets about his dad have touched many. One saying "I'm not the son of a victim. My Dad was so much more than that. I don't want him to go down in history as someone who died."

    "I'll remember him as having dignity and determination and being a wonderful father, friend and neighbor," said one of Lovell's neighbors, Jonathan Kruk. Lovell's friends have begun an online drive to help raise money for his funeral, and have raised over $8,000 so far.

    Wake: Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at Clinton Funeral Home, 21 Parrott Street, Cold Spring.

    Funeral: Friday at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Loretto Church, 24 Fair Street, Cold Spring. A private cremation will follow.

    CLICK HERE to donate to Lovell's online drive.


    54-year-old Donna Smith from Newburgh is remembered by her next door neighbor Kathy Cerone as a wonderful person who was kind, and had a good heart.

    Neighbors also say Smith was active in the Girl Scouts and with her church. She was also very close to her sister. In fact, Eyewitness News is told her sister's car was parked in front of Smith's home Sunday night, leaving friends to wonder if they went into the city together.

    Wake: Thursday from 3 to 8 p.m. at Brooks Funeral Home 481 Gidney Ave, Newburgh, NY.

    Funeral: Friday at 10 a.m. at the funeral home. Burial will follow in Woodlawn Cemetery, New Windsor.

    Obit: http://bit.ly/1bhqD8W


    35-year-old Kisook Ahn from Korea was the only victim found inside one of the train's cars, sources tell Eyewitness News.

    Ahn worked in the pediatric unit at Kings County Hospital until December 2012. The hospital released a statement Monday saying everyone is saddened by the tragic loss.

    "I'm really shocked about this, I just realized the accident five minutes ago," said the victim's roommate, Jung Heejung.

    Heejung also said her friend, who was a nurse, was full of life and loved her job.

    Wake: Friday from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Central Funeral Home, 136-25 41st Avenue Flushing, New York.

    Funeral: Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Sebastian Church, 58-02 Roosevelt Ave, Woodside, NY.


    59-year-old James Ferrari lived in Montrose, New York with his wife. He was also a devoted father to his daughter. Ferrari was a building supervisor and was headed to his job in Manhattan when his train derailed.

    Francie Ferrari was married for 20 glorious years to James, but is now consumed by sadness after her husband was thrown from the Metro North train after the Sunday morning derailment. "He's the best. Good dad, miss him so much," Francie says. James took the same train at the same time for the last 10 years. Family members say he would always sit in the last car, but on Sunday he was in the fourth car. Francie says she knew that after many hours had passed and she didn't hear from her husband that something was wrong.

    "Yeah, I leave five messages and he's never back. He always calls," said Francie.

    James grew up in the Throgs Neck section of the Bronx and worked as a building mechanic supervisor in Midtown. He was described as a modest person with silent strength. Friends say James put his wife and daughter first, and if they were happy, he was happy.

    Wake: Wednesday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at Cortlandt Funeral Home, 97 Broadway, Verplanck.

    Funeral: Thursday 10 a.m. at Church of the Divine Love, 80 Sunset Road, Montrose. Burial to follow at Sunset Cemetery.

    Obit: http://bit.ly/1bhr5UH