The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local 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
Local News
  • Flower2 Flowers' color doesn't have to fade

    Those pots of bright yellow daffodils, Easter lilies and hyacinths gracing the home this weekend do not have to end up in the trash bin when the blooms start to fade.

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Refinancing could lower Richland School District's debt by $2.2M

    When Richland School District borrowed funds for its high school project a decade ago, board members circled “2014” on their calendars as a likely first option to refinance the debt.

    April 20, 2014

  • Pipeline to carry shale byproducts

    An 8-inch transmission line crossing Pennsylvania, including four municipalities in Cambria County, is being repurposed to carry some of the by-products from Marcellus and Utica shale production.

    April 20, 2014

  • Judge Creany, Timothy Vets courts gain support

    Signs of success are mostly anecdotal in Pennsylvania’s special courts for veterans, but judicial officials and lawmakers are so convinced of the program, they’re lobbying to expand it.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • pow21 Person of the Week: ‘I wanted to help’: Teen uses birthday to show love for children, animals

    Anastasia Machik’s love for children and animals inspired her to forgo her birthday gifts for the sake of the two.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Students taking steps to call attention to child abuse

    An upcoming community walk will help raise awareness of child abuse.

    April 20, 2014

  • In brief: PennDOT reports weekly work schedule

    April 20, 2014

  • District Deaths April 21, 2014

    April 20, 2014

  • Halfway house inmates can ease back into society

    Prison life can be a time warp.
    When inmates are locked away – for months, years, decades – society moves forward: Technology evolves, major events occur, pop culture changes. From a personal perspective, families and friends live their lives: weddings, funerals, graduations, births, retirements. All the while, criminals bide their time, existing in a regimented world of cement walls and metal bars.
    Almost all of them eventually rejoin society, though.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crime board took aim at house

    Johnstown’s unemployment rate is around 8 percent.
    One-third of the city’s population lives in poverty.
    Burglaries and assaults significantly increased between 2010 and 2012. There is a thriving illegal trade in heroin and prescription drugs.
    Given those conditions, it can be challenging for Johnstown Community Corrections Center residents to find jobs when living in the facility or to avoid falling back into a criminal lifestyle upon their release.

    April 19, 2014


Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads