29 April 2009

Three Friends Recalled the Best of Beverly on Larry King's Show

I have just come across a transcript of the show Larry King did on Feb. 13, 2009, the day after the Buffalo plane crash, in which he spoke to friends of some of the victims. Here is the portion with warm reminiscences by three of Beverly's oldest friends: Kathleen Delaney, Carol Bauda and Kathy Matthews.

[Kathleen Delaney has kindly pointed out some errors in the original transcript. They are noted in brackets below. Also, Carol Bauda's last name was misspelled in the original transcript, but is now corrected here.]

KING: An extraordinary lady died on that flight. She was Beverly Eckert. Three of her friends join us now from Buffalo -- Kathleen Delaney, a very close friend of the victim. Carol Bauda, who was one of her oldest friends. They met in kindergarten. And Kathy Matthews, as well.

Beverly was -- how extraordinary, she became an active -- advocate for the victims after 9/11.



BEVERLY ECKERT, 9/11 WIDOW: It's hard to turn around and see the whole in the skyline where my husband's building used to be. If this bill doesn't pass, I don't think I'll ever -- I don't think I'll ever be able to go back there. I think I'll be too ashamed.


KING: All right, Kathleen DeLaney, tell us about Beverly.

What was she like?

KATHLEEN DELANEY, KNEW CRASH VICTIM BEVERLY ECKERT: Well, I had the fortune of sitting in front of Beverly pretty much my entire high school career because we were alphabetically arranged. And she was -- she was just always a lot of fun to be around. She instigated a lot of pranks. But she was just -- she was just a wonderful person who knew her mind and -- which I think is one of the things that this high school that we attended, Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart, really, really promoted.

We -- this was an all girls' school. And at the time when we were in school, it was just a good, solid place for young women who may not have had the opportunity had they been in another type of a school to develop their leadership roles.

KING: Carol, you go...


KING: Carol, you go back to kindergarten right?

CAROL BAUDA, KNEW CRASH VICTIM BEVERLY ECKERT: Yes, we went to grammar school together, kindergarten, high school. And we were thick as thieves right along. And we got into mischief together. And Bev was just so much fun. She had so much energy and she was very creative. People don't know that she was an excellent artist, painter and potter and just so creative. We had a lot of fun together. Very close.

KING: Kathy Mathews, how well did you know her?

KATHLEEN MATHEWS, KNEW CRASH VICTIM BEVERLY ECKERT: I knew her through the four years at Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart and some years beyond into adulthood. I saw her, you know, fairly recently, as well.

I knew her as one of the bright lights in our class. She was the person who drew a lot of friends to her. And she was -- in a girls' school, sometimes it could be cliquey and different. But Bev was one of the people who was sort of an equal opportunity friend. A lot of people truly got to know her well and we think of her fondly.

KING: She just met with President Obama a week ago. He paid tribute to her today.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, tragic events such as these remind us of the fragility of life and the value of every single day. One person who understood that well was Beverly Eckert, who was on that flight and who I met with just a few days ago.

Now, you see, Beverly lost her husband on 9/11 and became a tireless advocate for those families whose lives were forever changed on that September day. And in keeping with that passionate commitment, she was on her way to Buffalo to mark what would have been her husband's birthday and launch a scholarship in his memory.

So she was an inspiration to me and to so many others. And I pray that her family finds peace and comfort in the hard days ahead.


KING: Kathleen, are you surprised that she became the advocate she became?

[DELANEY instead of MATHEWS]: Oh, no. As a matter of fact, when I was going through some things today, I found a clipping from 1967. She won a Voice of Democracy Contest here. And I think I -- I must not have won because that's why I kept it.

But I talked to Bev Wednesday night. She was coming into town for Sean's scholarship. And she was due to have had dinner at our house tonight. And I asked her about meeting Obama. And she said to -- she immediately told me, I'll tell you all about it Friday night. But she let me know that she was scanning a napkin that she had pinched from underneath his water bottle. And this morning -- this morning I had that e-mail that she had sent off to me. And there it was -- the presidential seal on a napkin.

So she...

KING: Carol, did she...

MATHEWS: That was the type of -- she loved saving things.

KING: Carol, did she have children?

BAUDA: No. She did not have children, but she had nephews and a niece. And so they were very close to her. She was the fun aunt that they all loved to be with.

KING: And her life had changed.

She had a boyfriend now, didn't she?

BAUDA: Yes, uh-huh.

KING: Were they planning...

BAUDA: He is a wonderful guy.

KING: Were they planning to get married? BAUDA: Oh, not at this point, I don't think. But, you know, he's just -- he was very, you know, a very loving person to her and very understanding of the things she had to go through for what she had to do politically.

MATHEWS: She was trying to move on with her life as best she could while always, always revering Sean's legacy.

KING: Any funeral plans that you know of, ladies?

BAUDA: Not at this point.


KING: Well, this is the hardest thing in the world, not just to lose a relative, but to lose a friend.

Quickly, we have -- what will you remember the most, Kathleen?

[DELANEY, not MATHEWS]: Oh, just -- just Bev. I mean, she's -- she was just all present. And one of the things that really struck me, especially after Sean died, was just how close she brought all of us together. She was always concerned for us. And when we were trying to make calls today, she was the one who had the phone numbers, so we were lost.

KING: Carol, what will you remember?

BAUDA: Her boundless energy. It's just amazing. Every time I spoke with her, she was flying off one place or another, on some committee, this committee, all over. And whether it was the scholarship fund or memorials, even in her own hometown or here, it was just amazing, her energy level.

KING: And, Kathy, what will you remember the most?

[MATHEWS, not DELANEY: I'll remember her quick intellect and her creativeness and mostly I'm going to remember how steadfastly she pursued justice for the victims and the families from 9/11.

KING: Yes.

She was an amazing woman.

Thank you all, ladies.

We appreciate this.

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