Family Tribute:Tribute to William A. (Tony) Karnes
To our brother and best friend, Tony perished on the 97th floor of WTC Tower 1. Tony loved New York, the gardens, the cultural opportunities, entertainment and restaurants.
Tony’s work with Marsh took him all over the U.S. where he met and made many friends and got to visit many places of his dreams. Many of these friends came to his memorial on October 25th in Knoxville, Tennessee.
After the tragedy of 9-11-01, Tony’s sisters went to New York in hopes of finding him but his young life was taken by this cowardly act of terrorism.
Tony’s gift to New York is the $12,000 given in his memory for the Freedom Engine fire truck purchased by East Tennessee people. The Freedom Engine is to be presented to Ladder Company 14 in Harlem in March. The Engine displays a bronze plaque that reads: 'From the people of East Tennessee to the people of New York City, we will not forget September 11, 2001.'
Tony, your sisters are still hurting. We are only saying goodnight but not goodbye.
Sadly missed and will always be in our hearts.
Your sisters, Brenda Vandever, Vicky Ratcliff and Gayle BarkerWilliam Anthony Karnes: Discovering New York
William Anthony Karnes made his living as a software trainer for Marsh & McLennan. But his life’s passion was touting the virtues of his adopted hometown, New York, regaling his sisters with stories about the wonders of living in the city where anything is possible, a place grander than anything he imagined growing up back in tiny Corryton, Tenn.
At least twice a week, Mr. Karnes, 37, would phone home to Tennessee, as much to say 'I love you' as to brag about his latest favorite restaurant, usually some Indian place. 'He loved that there was so much to discover in New York,' said John Winter, his domestic partner.
And he made sure to share his favorite discoveries. 'It was a big kick for him to show us around his city,' said his sister, Gayle Barker. 'He’d take us to the Empire State Building, the top of the World Trade Center, Rockefeller Center or just walking through the streets.'
The one thing Mr. Karnes couldn’t find in his beloved Manhattan was true Southern cooking. His love of a good plate of pinto beans, corn bread, mashed potatoes and biscuits always managed to guide him back home to one of his sisters’ dinner tables. In her mind, Mrs. Barker still imagines her brother sitting around the table. 'I just keep thinking that this isn’t really happening, that he’s not dead. He’s just on a long, long trip somewhere.'