- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 2, 2003

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Astronaut Laurel B. Clark's death on the Space Shuttle Columbia was the second sudden and very public disaster to hit Doug and Betty Haviland in 17 months.
Cmdr. Clark was their niece, and her final moments were broadcast again and again on television yesterday, exploding white dots 200,000 feet above the Earth.
On September 11, 2001, television first brought disaster. The Havilands were watching after the World Trade Center absorbed the impact of a terrorist-piloted jetliner, then collapsed with their 41-year-old son, Timothy, inside.
"It was a very deja vu sort of thing, you know. We watched those towers smoking and eventually collapsing, and then you see this space shuttle breaking apart. Here it is all over again," said Mr. Haviland, a 76-year-old retired Episcopal minister of Ames, Iowa.
Cmdr. Clark, 41, was one of seven astronauts on board the space shuttle when it disintegrated while streaking over Texas toward a landing at Cape Canaveral, Fla., yesterday.
Timothy Haviland worked for Marsh & McLennan Inc., on the 96th floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. He and Cmdr. Clark were friends as well as cousins.
"Tim had planned to go to the launch, but it was not to be," said Mrs. Haviland, 73.
Instead, Cmdr. Clark and her son attended a memorial for Timothy Haviland in November 2001.
Timothy Haviland's wife, Amy, also lost a brother in the September 11 attacks. Robert W. Spear Jr., 30, was a firefighter with the New York Fire Department.
Mrs. Haviland couldn't but mention the slim chances of any husband and wife watching the broadcast deaths of two loved ones.
"Grief and death happens to a lot of people, but you don't usually watch it on national television and not once but a thousand times. And you can't not watch because that's your son or your niece up there," Mrs. Haviland said.
Mr. Haviland said he spoke briefly yesterday with his sister, Marjory, Cmdr. Clark's mother.
"She's in the most difficult situation in this event. So I'm sure she's feeling pretty numb and swamped, as we were when the September 11 tragedy happened," Mr. Haviland said. "Hopefully we can support her as much as possible."
Cmdr. Clark was born in Ames while her father studied at Iowa State University. She lived in the central Iowa town for two years before moving with her family to Racine, Wis., which she considered her hometown.
The Havilands said they saw Cmdr. Clark at family gatherings or when she came to visit her 96-year-old grandmother at an Ames retirement home.
Mr. Haviland said his last message from her was an e-mail sent to relatives from space.
"I just picked [it] up yesterday. She was, you know, thrilled, taking lots of pictures and could see the area in Wisconsin on one of their pass-overs where they had lived for several years … looking forward to sharing all this with her friends and family," he said. "She died doing what she wanted to do."

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