Co-worker recalls crash victim as 'beautiful,' 'so proud' of son Carven's family, colleagues from TWA attend Mass

August 10, 1996|By Robert A. Erlandson | Robert A. Erlandson,SUN STAFF

With tears in her eyes, Kim Bergwall described Paula Ann Carven, her friend and mentor as a TWA flight attendant, as "so beautiful" and "so proud" of her son, Joseph A. "Jay" von Hedrich III.

Ms. Bergwall stood in the rain yesterday outside St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church in Hickory, where she and other grief-stricken colleagues attended services for Ms. Carven and her son -- killed with 228 others in the July 17 explosion of Paris-bound TWA Flight 800.

Cardinal William H. Keeler concelebrated the Mass of Christian burial with five other priests at the 204-year-old fieldstone and white stucco Harford County church. One of the priests was the Rev. Michael Judge, a New York City Fire Department chaplain who spent days with the families of the victims and has attended eight funerals of victims of the crash.

Ms. Carven, 42, who was off-duty, was taking her son to Paris as a present for his ninth birthday when the explosion, of still-unexplained origin, blasted the huge Boeing 747 airliner apart and into a fireball that fell into the Atlantic off eastern Long Island. Both lived in Bel Air.

"Paula hired me back in 1985, and when I met her I thought, 'She's so beautiful and I want to be just like her,' " Ms. Bergwall recalled. She said they had worked together in San Francisco, New York and other cities.

"She was at my wedding just five months ago," Ms. Bergwall said. "And she was so proud of Jay; he taught himself to read at 4 1/2 ."

Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr., who sat during the Mass near Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann, said his family has known members of the Carven family for many years. "It was a beautiful Mass," Mr. Curran said. "It was a message of sorrow and support for the family."

The Rev. Kenneth R. Farabaugh, who delivered the homily, said after the service his theme was, "It's God's ultimate plan that all peoples will be united with him in Heaven. Our task here on Earth is to live as God's adopted children so that one day we can share that union with him."

A. Frank Carven III, an older brother of Ms. Carven, spoke during the Mass of his sister's life and of what a bright boy her son was, calling him "a joy to the family."

A poem that Jay had written to her for Mother's Day was read. "It was just a little boy writing to his mom," Mr. Curran said.

At the end of the Mass, the large TWA delegation -- in navy blue uniforms with maroon arm-stripes -- lined the driveway from the church to the hearses that led a long cortege to St. Francis de Sales Cemetery in Abingdon.

They hugged and locked arms for support as pallbearers rolled the two coffins past them, Ms. Carven's copper-colored with a blanket of pink roses and her son's in black onyx with silvery fittings and a spray of white flowers.

"We're just grief-stricken, filled with horror," said Ms. Bergwall, the only TWA representative who consented to talk with reporters. "They were murdered, we feel."

A number of the airline's flight attendants have submitted resignations, she said, but the company has not accepted them -- instead giving the men and women time off to reconsider.

Ms. Bergwall said she was supposed to work on Monday's Flight 800 to Paris, but refused. "I'm going to have to get over the fear because I love the job," she said.

A large security force was on hand to ensure that no reporters and photographers -- except for a reporter and cameraman from the ABC-TV program "Prime Time Live" -- got into the church or near members of the family.

The church, which seats more than 200, was filled. Admission was by tickets distributed by the family. Many people who attended wore white ribbons held by golden angel pins.

Pub Date: 8/10/96

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