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Flight Attendant Mourned by Her San Francisco Family
By Kathy Dalle-Molle
Fifty friends gathered in San Francisco on Saturday, Sept. 15, to celebrate the life of United Airlines flight attendant Alicia Titus. Titus, who lived on the border between Noe Valley and Bernal Heights, perished on United Flight 175 when it crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
"We had Alicia's pictures and books by her favorite authors -- Pablo Neruda, Ayn Rand, and Paulo Coehlo -- all around us," says Tamara Kley, Titus' close friend and roommate. "We had some of her own writings -- travel essays, fiction, poetry -- too, and I read aloud quotes about happiness from her own writings."
Two days later, more than 500 people, including immediate and extended family, attended a memorial service at Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church in Urbana, Ohio. Titus, who was 28, grew up in nearby St. Paris, Ohio.
Titus was remembered at the service as a person "who embraced peace and life," and her father, John Titus, read a poem he had written, describing his daughter as a "soulful beauty, the embodiment of life.... Her greatest gifts were peace, love, joy, and life."
Born on June 11, 1973, in Springfield, Ohio, Titus is survived by her parents, John and Bev Titus of Dexter, Mich.; a sister, Shanoa; and brothers Zachery and Elijah, along with her paternal grandparents, maternal grandmother, and many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
In front of her apartment building on Guerrero near Duncan Street, where she lived for the past three years, friends and neighbors have set up a small shrine, adorned with floral arrangements, lighted candles, an American flag, photos of Titus, pictures of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and notes of remembrance.
"Never shall I forget the days I spent with you," wrote one friend. "Continue to be my friend as you will always find me yours. Keep on glowing. We love you."
Titus, who earned an undergraduate degree in international marketing from Miami University, left her job as an account manager at Netcentives on Brannan Street last year, to become a flight attendant in hopes of traveling the world. She had been working as a flight attendant for only nine months when she and six other flight attendants, two pilots, and 56 passengers were killed aboard the flight that left Boston at 8:14 a.m. on Sept. 11 bound for Los Angeles.
"I'm sure she found a way to make things easier for the passengers," her aunt Jody Lewis, who is a flight attendant for U.S. Airways, told the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch. "If she worked to calm or comfort or soothe just one person, that would have been okay for her."
"She had a special kind of energy," Lewis also told the Dispatch. "She was self-confident and used that to make sure that everyone around her felt better about themselves. You only had to meet her once to remember her."
Titus already had traveled to Paris, Hawaii, Morocco, and Spain, according to Lewis.
"She was a thrill-seeker, an adventurer, who'd come face to face with a bear, looked into the eyes of a bull on the streets of Spain, and always wanted to harness the power to swim with wild dolphins in the ocean," her aunt said. "One thing she never was, was afraid."
Titus' close friend Tamara Kley recalls that "Alicia loved her neighborhood. One of her favorite places was the top of Bernal Heights, and she loved all the beautiful murals in the neighborhood and getting ice cream at Mitchell's."
The weekend before she lost her life, Titus and Kley spent time in Dolores Park. "It was a beautiful weekend," says Kley. "The sun was out, and we were singing on the swings, playing on the monkey bars."
Kley says that Titus had hoped to be a teacher one day and also to join the Peace Corps. "There were so many things she wanted to do."
In the coming weeks, Titus' San Francisco friends will be setting up a web site and nonprofit foundation in her memory.
"We want her to be remembered," says Kley.
Titus' parents ask that people wishing to make donations in their daughter's name do so to the Peace Corps or the American Red Cross. For more information about the web site and foundation, e-mail alicias firstname.lastname@example.org. M