The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

December 21, 2013

Boy’s accidental death brings outpouring of love

JOHNSTOWN — This Christmas, the Revs. Richard and Donna Williams of Johnstown will not only celebrate the birth of Jesus, but the life of a grandson who drowned last month while playing at a lake near his Maryland home.

Jayden Williams, 5, who had lived in Johnstown before moving in the summer to the Washington, D.C., suburb of Waldorf, Md., died Nov. 3 when he fell into the overflow of a lake.

Jayden was playing with eight other boys near their condominium complex when they decided to walk across a narrow causeway at the breast of the lake, said Richard Williams.

Jayden slipped and fell into the water, he said.

“Although he is gone, we are celebrating his life and what he meant to people,” said Richard Williams, who along with his wife, helped to raise Jayden while Jayden’s mother, Kristin, who also is the Williamses daughter, worked as a nurse in Waldorf.

Kristin, who has a bachelor’s degree in nursing, went to Waldorf to advance her nursing career and to provide more opportunities for Jayden and her two other children, Spencer 3, and Amir, 7, he said.

She did not take Jayden with her when she moved in 2012 because she wanted him to finish out the school year at East Side Elementary School.

“He (Jayden) touched many peoples’ lives while he was living, and a lot more when he died,” he said.

“Jayden was a handsome, confident, jubilant, caring and loving young man.”

More than 200 family members and friends attended Jayden’s funeral at Shiloh Baptist Church in Johnstown on Nov. 9, he said.

In response to the love that Jayden showed during his life, people responded in-kind in various ways, he said.

A website was built for Jayden with people honoring his life by leaving their condolences and making donations to help the family.

Turner’s All-Stars Cheerleaders, a squad that their daughter, Kristin, had coached, had shopping bags bearing Jayden’s likeness made. The bags were passed around at a cheerleading tournament to collect donations to help the family, he said.

The teaching staff at East Side Elementary School; the State Correctional Institution-Laurel Highlands, where Donna Williams is a nurse; the Waldorf police; and individuals also made donations, he said.

The principal from Jayden’s elementary school in Waldorf as well as families from the condominium where Jayden lived also attended the funeral, he said.

 “He generated so much love, compassion and fellowship among people who may never have sat down to fellowship together,” he said.

A Christmas tree has been erected in Jayden’s memory at the Williamses home.

“Although tears may be shed because of his death, laughter and love will flow in remembrance of his life,” said Richard Williams, who, along with his wife, serve parishioners at Heavenly Sent Ministries, Conemaugh.

Frank Sojak is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at FrankNews10.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • foust_25 Teen shot in Oakhurst

    A 16-year-old New Jersey boy was taken to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center on Thursday after being shot three times in the Oakhurst section of Johnstown.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Audit: City overspent by $700G in 2013

    Legacy costs contributed significantly to the city of Johnstown coming up $689,000 short in its core services funding during 2013.

    July 24, 2014

  • Kuzma, jonathan Guilty plea in hammer death

    The Johnstown man who authorities said killed his father with a hammer last year pleaded guilty Wednesday to criminal homicide, authorities said.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • quecreek rescue Events to mark anniversary of Quecreek rescue

    When word spread that nine Quecreek miners were trapped underground in July 2002, Bill Arnold’s dairy farm quickly became the rescue effort’s ground zero.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Huger, Stephen Accused Hornerstown shooter will stand trial

    A Johnstown man will stand trial in connection with a July 12 shooting in the Hornerstown section of the city.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Board names Zahorchak’s successor

    The Greater Johnstown school board at a special meeting Thursday named a superintendent to replace the retiring superintendent, rehired its last business manager and approved other administrative appointments.

    July 24, 2014

  • Pasquerilla, Mark Pasquerilla recognized as arts patron

    First lady Susan Corbett announced Thursday from the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, Pa., that Mark Pasquerilla of Johnstown has earned the Patron Award from the 2014 Governor’s Awards for the Arts.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ebensburg gets ready to party

    Party down with a shutdown.
    Downtown Shutdown, a street party featuring music and food, will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday in downtown Ebensburg.

    July 24, 2014

  • ROTARY Local Rotary Club earns recognition

    The Rotary Club of Johnstown was named Outstanding Large Club of the Year in District 7330, which serves 42 Rotary Clubs in seven counties in southwest Pennsylvania, at the Rotary District 7330 and District 7300 Joint Conference that was held June 26 through 29 at Seven Springs Mountain Resort.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kara Baumgardner ‘I’m helping other people’: Forest Hills freshman donates regularly to Locks of Love

    Summerhill resident Kara Baumgardner has cut her hair a total of four times in the past five years.
    Each time, she has chopped off 10 to 12 inches for donation to Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that makes wigs for those 21 and younger who have lost their hair due to medical conditions.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo


What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos

Photo Slideshow

House Ads