Jul 25, 2014

UPDATED: Newton Reacts to Death of Osama bin Laden

Family and friends remember Newton residents who were victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Update 5/3/11, 10:50 a.m. Our friends at Avon, CT Patch have , a native of Avon but a woman that was living in Newton prior to her death in the Sept. 11 attacks. 

In addition, we've added a video of Toyen's story in our photos and .pdf section. 

Toyen's fiance at the time of her death, Jeffrey Gonski, has a blog that he has set up about his life, all of which changed with Toyen's death. The two met at Bentley College in Waltham.

4:30 p.m. A crowd of people gathered in the Boston Public Garden today to lay flowers on the Sept. 11 memorial. People stood together in grief and rememembrance as visions of that terrifying day returned.

"When people say there is closure, it makes me crazy," Irene Ross, who lost her brother Richard, said. Richard, of Newton, was on American Airlines Flight 11. "I've just been very torn," she said, adding "I'm glad [bin Laden] is gone. I'm glad he's in the sea and I hope the sharks are having a feast."

Read the full story on the Boston ceremony on .

2:37 p.m.   "It's about time [Osama bin Laden] was found, after 10 years," said Allan Hackel of Newton. He lost his wife, Paige Farley-Hackel, on United Airlines Flight 175 that morning of September 11, 2001. "[Bin Laden] deserved to be killed, but it doesn't take away the pain. I'm glad it [the attack on bin Laden's compound] happened, but it doesn't make me feel any better."

Hackel doesn't think the death of bin Laden will change anything, except, in the short run, possibly bring more violence. "Some crazy people, of which there are many, may try to take revenge."

In the 10 years since her death,  the Paige Farley-Hackel Memorial Park was built and named after her in Dorchester. As Allan Hackel flipped through pictures of the park, he remarked how it used to be a place where heroin users would shoot up, but now the park has [non-drug-related] activity all the time. According to some accounts of Farley-Hackel's life, as a younger woman, she overcame struggles with drug abuse.

Farley-Hackel also had been on the board of directors of the Salvation Army in Boston, where she had served as a volunteer. Allan Hackel also said that, when she died, she was working on trying to launch a radio talk show about spirituality called 'Spiritually Speaking.'

Update 1:30 p.m. Our friends at Avon, CT Patch have a story on Amy Toyen, who was an Avon, CT native but lived in Newton prior to her death on Sept. 11, 2001. Toyen, who worked at Thomson Reuters financial branch in Boston, was attending a conference at the World Trade Center at the time of the attacks. 

A sculpture at the Avon Free Public Library shows Toyen as a child, sitting in pigtails with a book and a teddy bear.

Toyen loved to read and was a supporter of children's programming at the library, Terri Wilson, president of the Avon Historical Society, said.

1:15 p.m. Thanks to the online living memorials from Voices of September 11, we found a link to the Mark Bavis Leadership Foundation. The foundation, which was started by Bavis' family, gives grants to "allow deserving young men and women to enjoy opportunities and experiences which contributed to making Mark the person that he was."

Bavis, who lived in Newton, was a hockey scout for Los Angeles Kings and was a star on the Boston University hockey team in the mid-90s. There is also a memorial box in Bavis' name at the BU Agganis Arena, the memorial site says. 

Bavis was on board United Airlines Flight 175.

In addition, the Voices of September 11 website lead us to information about a sculpture of Amy Toyen, who lived in Newton but hailed from Avon, CT. Toyen was inside the World Trade Center at the time of the attack.

A sculpture of Toyen as a child can be found at the Avon Public Library. According to the living memorial site, it was created by Marilyn Thrall and was funded by the student government of Avon High School. 

1 p.m. We have updated International Airport. 

12:30 p.m. We've posted a story on . They react to bin Laden's death and remember their sister/daughter. 

5/2/11, 9:15 a.m.: Check out a photo gallery of Bostonians celebrating the news of bin Laden's death on Boston Common late last night.

Also, check out our story on security reactions from Boston Logan International Airport. 


During a late-night speech, President Barack Obama announced Sunday that Al-Qaeda Leader Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan last week during a firefight with American troops.

The terrorist group Al-Qaeda took responsibility for the tragic events of September 11, 2001, claiming the lives of nearly 3,000 people. 

Several Newton residents -- and many others with connections to Newton -- were victims of the 9/11 attacks. According to a CNN database, Newton victims included:

  • Mark Lawrence Bavis, 31, of West Newton, was on board United Airlines Flight 175 
  • Paige Farley-Hackel, 46, of Newton, was on board American Airlines Flight 11 
  • John Nicholas Humber Jr., 60, of Newton. Worked with Brae Burn Management and was on board American Airlines Flight 11
  • Richard Barry Ross, 58, of Newton. Worked with The Ross Group and on board American Airlines Flight 11
  • Amy E. Toyen, 24, of Newton. Worked with Thomson Financial Services and died in the World Trade Center.

In addition, a list compiled by Wicked Local Newton back in 2009 included a few other names with victims that had connections to Newton.

Please share your thoughts on the developments, memories of the victims and any other connections to Newton in our comments section below. Or, e-mail Melanie.Graham@patch.com.

Photo Gallery

Don’t miss updates from Patch!