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In memoriam

Ronald Davidson's infectious laugh was well-known to the six residents at the adult group home where he worked and to the regulars at the community kitchen in Westfield where he volunteered serving hot lunches.

His wife, Linda, 61, was known for her kind nature as a longtime nurse at Westfield Memorial Hospital.

More than 200 friends and family of the Westfield couple gathered Sunday in St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Westfield to remember them as proud grandparents and dedicated volunteers.

The couple were together on Flight 3407 on a return trip from visiting their daughter, Carrie, in California.

The loss of two Westfield residents has hit the small Chautauqua County community hard.

"There's not enough that you can say. It's such a tragedy in the town," said Beth Powers, director of the Westfield Community Kitchen, where the Davidsons volunteered. "Everyone just felt a big hole, a big void."

Ronald Davidson, 66, who drove a "fire engine red" convertible in the summer, worked in the steel industry for years, Powers said. When that industry changed, he retrained and took a job at an adult group home in Portland run by Aspire of Western New York.

Thomas A. Sy, Aspire's executive director, said workers remember him for his great sense of humor and for forging genuine relationships with the developmentally disabled residents in the home.

Both Davidsons volunteered at the community kitchen. He helped serve lunches on Thursdays. She would work once a month to take the blood pressure of those eating.

"She was wonderful," Powers said. "Where Ron was so loud and boisterous, Linda was really quiet. She knew how to have fun, but she was just a nice, nice person who would do anything for you."

The Davidsons have three children, Andrew, Aaron and Carrie. Aaron is in the military, stationed overseas, and arrived in Westfield on Monday.

"Their grandchildren were their life," Powers said. "They took care of them. They took them to school every day; picked them up."

-- Denise Jewell Gee


Julie Ries, 49, a nurse, died just a couple of miles or so from her Clarence home when Continental Flight 3407 fell from the sky. She had been visiting a friend in Newark, N.J., and was flying back to rejoin her children and mother, a neighbor said.

"She was a lovely woman," said Waldo Plaisted, who lives across the street from the family's home off Country Road and watched Ries grow up. "She was her own person. Very independent."

Robert Nolan, another neighbor, said she was "very very sweet." And it was hard to cope with the fact that she was so near her family again when her plane went down.
"To be so close," he said. "It's tough."

Reis is survived by her son Shawn; two daughters, Emily and Kelly; her mother, Adele Goergen; and five brothers, Richard, Donald, Mark, Gregory and Grail Cammarata.

-- Niki Cervantes

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