- The Washington Times - Friday, June 26, 2009

LaVonda King was beginning to live her dream. The 23-year-old had recently become a licensed cosmetologist and over the weekend had celebrated the opening of her first salon, “LaVonda’s House of Beauty” in District Heights.

But Miss King’s dream died on the Metro tracks Monday afternoon when the Red Line train the young mother had just boarded crashed between Takoma and Fort Totten stations, killing her and eight others. She was on the way to pick up her two young boys — 2-year-old Emmanuel and 3-year-old Andre — from day care.

On Thursday evening, some 200 family members and friends remembered “Nikki” — as Miss King was known among them — in a candle-light vigil at the Kenilworth-Parkside Recreation Center in Northeast, the community in which she grew up.

Members of the family holding large pink candles handed out small white ones to the crowd and put up photographs of Miss King.

Danette Fredericks, Miss King’s aunt, said her niece was “very lady-like” and “very ambitious.”

“She was my angel,” Ms. Fredericks continued. “She could never do anything wrong.”

A cousin, TyJuan Brown, came prepared with 10 signs showing a photograph of Miss King taken on a Metro train, reading “In Loving Memory.”

“She was just a beautiful, joyful woman to be around,” Mr. Brown said.

Chifuan Head, who attended the vigil with her son John — a friend of Andre’s — said she appreciated Miss King’s involvement at the day care center their children attended together. Just last week, Miss Head recalled, they had seen each other at a parents’ meeting.

“She was very funny,” Miss Head said. “She was always motivated, excited, eager to talk.”

The second-oldest of seven siblings, Miss King was a graduate of Largo High School and Wilberforce University in Ohio and had worked as a teller at a Forestville branch of SunTrust Banks. In the spring of 2008, Miss King — dubbed “the Fashionista” in a family statement — enrolled at the Hair Academy in New Carrollton.

Cheryl Crosby Mickle, who taught her at the academy, said Miss King was always professional, always well-put-together — one of the best students she ever had.

“I saw her every day for probably a year or more,” Ms. Crosby Mickle said. “Every day she came in with a smile.”

Miss King hoped to one day be a celebrity stylist in Hollywood, she said.

“She had dreams of going to California,” Ms. Crosby Mickle said. “She had a lot of dreams.”

Having completed the written cosmetology test, Miss King felt apprehensive about her practical exam on May 27.

“I made her go,” Ms. Crosby Mickle said, and Miss King passed with flying colors. “I’m so glad I made that child go,” she said.

Miss King had planned to stop by the Hair Academy this week to thank helpers who set up her salon, Ms. Crosby Mickle said.

“I’m just so shocked,” said Paulette McKoy, a fellow student who came to the vigil.

Miss King was always smiling, always happy and always ready to help, Miss McKoy said.

“She was kind to everybody,” she said. “I just had to pay my respect.”

The time and location for Miss King’s funeral have not yet been set.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More

Click to Hide