Hundreds honor 2 fathers killed at Navy Yard
- Article by: BRETT ZONGKER
- Associated Press
- September 25, 2013 - 4:35 PM
LA PLATA, Md. — Hundreds of people gathered Wednesday to celebrate the life of a federal worker and lifelong Washington Redskins fan who was gunned down at the Washington Navy Yard last week.
Kenneth "Bernard" Proctor, 46, a utilities engineer at the Navy Yard who worked for the federal government for more than two decades, was remembered as a loyal father, friend and public servant at his funeral in La Plata, Md. He left behind two sons. Another funeral was held Wednesday for Arthur Daniels of Washington.
They were among 12 people killed by a gunman in the shooting massacre Sept. 16.
At a standing-room-only service at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in La Plata, Proctor's sons placed their dad's beloved Redskins jersey inside their father's casket. Proctor had coached their football teams growing up, friends said. Proctor loved fishing and working on his race car that he raced at Maryland International Raceway.
Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, who attended the service, presented a flag to Proctor's two sons, Kenneth "BJ" Proctor Jr. and Kendull Proctor. Hoyer represents the family's southern Maryland home in Congress, and the flag was flown over the Capitol in Proctor's honor.
"Eight days ago, 12 of our fellow citizens who served their country with distinction and with honor were taken from us in a senseless, indiscriminate act of a demented and sick person," Hoyer said. "We lament their loss, but we are joyful in their service to our country."
Karl Dyer, a longtime friend and family member by marriage, said Proctor was generous, loyal and full of life.
"He loved to laugh," Dyer said. "What I remember most about him was his smile. He always had a big smile on his face."
The family has been left in shock and disbelief that he's gone, Dyer said.
Todd Edelen, a friend who coached football with Proctor, said that the family has few details about the Navy Yard shooting, but that they have been told he was in the cafeteria at the military installation when he was shot.
"It's still shocking," Edelen said. "It still doesn't make sense."
Proctor's sons — whom he raised with his high school sweetheart, Evelyn Proctor, even after they divorced this year — were the joy of his life, friends said. The oldest son, Kenneth Proctor Jr., enlisted in the Army after graduating from high school this spring and left for basic training in Oklahoma two weeks before his father was killed.
Kendull Proctor, 15, spoke at the end of the service and said his father had taught him respect. He recalled a grocery shopping trip where his father paid for an older woman's groceries ahead of them in line because she couldn't afford the items.
"He said to me later," Kendull Proctor said, "the reason he paid for them was because if that was his mother, he would want someone to step up."
A funeral was also held Wednesday in Temple Hills for Daniels, a handyman and father who was working for a furniture contractor when he was shot at the Navy Yard. One of Daniels' sons also was the victim of gun violence in an earlier fatal shooting.
Billy Martin, a lawyer who represents the Daniels family, said the funeral was a very sad moment, but Daniels' wife and children were overwhelmed by the outpouring of care and love from people who filled the church.
"His loss will be felt forever," Martin said.
The family issued a statement, calling the mass shooting "senseless and tragic." He is survived by four children and his wife, Priscilla Daniels.
"Arthur was a deeply devoted husband, father, and employee," the family wrote. "Together, he and Priscilla, his loving wife of 30 years, built a home filled with love."
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