William Anthony Karnes

William Anthony Karnes
World Trade Center

Discovering New York

William Anthony Karnes made his living as a software trainer for Marsh & McLennan. But his life's passion was touting the virtues of his adopted hometown, New York, regaling his sisters with stories about the wonders of living in the city where anything is possible, a place grander than anything he imagined growing up back in tiny Corryton, Tenn.

At least twice a week, Mr. Karnes, 37, would phone home to Tennessee, as much to say "I love you" as to brag about his latest favorite restaurant, usually some Indian place. "He loved that there was so much to discover in New York," said John Winter, his domestic partner.

And he made sure to share his favorite discoveries. "It was a big kick for him to show us around his city," said his sister, Gayle Barker. "He'd take us to the Empire State Building, the top of the World Trade Center, Rockefeller Center or just walking through the streets."

The one thing Mr. Karnes couldn't find in his beloved Manhattan was true Southern cooking. His love of a good plate of pinto beans, corn bread, mashed potatoes and biscuits always managed to guide him back home to one of his sisters' dinner tables. In her mind, Mrs. Barker still imagines her brother sitting around the table. "I just keep thinking that this isn't really happening, that he's not dead. He's just on a long, long trip somewhere."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 2, 2001.

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