‘It could have been any of us:’ Family, friends mourn those killed in Metro-North derailment

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COLD SPRING, N.Y. (PIX11) – Twelve-year -old Hudson Lovell, the youngest son of “Today” show technician, Jim Lovell, wiped tears from his face, after receiving sympathetic hugs from his dad’s friends Monday.

58-year-old Jim Lovell was one of four Metro-North commuters killed early Sunday, when the 5:54 a.m. train from Poughkeepsie derailed in the Bronx.

“A wonderful, doting father to his three boys,” Lovell’s friend John Zuvic said of him. “He was very proud of them. They’re so respectful.”

Lovell’s oldest son, 17-year-old Finn, had paid tribute to him on Twitter. Lovell also had a 15-year-old son, Jack and an adult daughter from a previous marriage.

On Christmas Eve 2009, Lovell had married the boys’ mother, Nancy. Lovell had also survived heart surgery.

“I would say he was a champion,” friend Julia Famularo said outside the Lovell home through tears, “for his wife, his kids, anyone who needed his help.”

Lovell was on the 5:54 train to Grand Central terminal Sunday morning, because he was helping to set up for the Christmas Tree Lighting Show this week in Rockefeller Center.

54-year-old Donna Smith of Newburgh would have boarded the train first, farther north. Her sister was going to sing in a performance of Handel’s Messiah in Manhattan. Donna Smith was killed, but her younger sister, Linda, survived with bumps and bruises.

“I never saw them without each other,” Smith’s.neighbor, Lynn Davis, told PIX11. “I just hope she felt embraced by a nice, warm light and was greeted by people who went before her.”

Smith, who was single, worked two jobs — as a paralegal and a tax preparer. She had bought her own home 14 years ago.

The third person who did not survive the train ride was 59-year-old James Ferrari of Montrose, New York. Ferrari was married, with a 20-year-old daughter, and his family asked for privacy.

35-year-old Ahn Kisook, who lived in Queens, was a registered nurse who boarded the train in Ossining, Westchester County. Kisook had just finished working an overnight shift at a nursing home in Ossining.

“It could have been any of us,” observed Lynn Davis. “So many of us here in the suburbs take that train . The ties that bind us to this life are so tenuous.”