David Williams

David Williams
World Trade Center

Engineer With a Funny Side

David Williams, 34, was an engineer at the World Trade Center, and after a dozen years there he knew the stairwells and elevator shafts like the back of his hand. He was also a stand-up comedian whose stage name was Dogface and who found joy in making total strangers laugh. Facing the audience in a club, he would ask, "Where are the real people?" His favorite refrain was, "Real people do real things."

Six feet tall with a smooth shaved head, he found a certain balance between the job he did all day and the shows he got to put on at night, said his longtime friend, Dwayne Davis. He was a devoted father to his children, Lashonna, 14, and Bishme, 9. Lashonna called him her best friend and her fashion designer. He was engaged to their mother, Debra Johnson, who said his two careers were helping him toward his goal of buying a house. Away from the limelight, his smiles were genuine. "He was the happiest that I had ever seen him," Mr. Davis said.

On Sept. 11 he escorted a group of real people, all frightened office workers, from the flaming towers to safety two blocks away. Then he ran back, to help bring out more.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on April 28, 2002.

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