From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Kenneth Waldie, Jr. '78

Date of birth: May 13, 1955

Date of death: September 11, 2001

Age: 46

Lucky Bag

From the 1978 Lucky Bag:

Inclusion in Memorial Hall

Though he is included on this website, Kenneth was not on active military duty the morning of September 11, 2001, and is not listed in Memorial Hall.

Loss & Biography

1978 Waldie 1.jpg

From USNA Alumni Association:

Waldie was born in Pittsburg, PA, attended Naval Academy Preparatory School and received his commission with the Class of 1978. After completing his obligations, Waldie went to work for Raytheon. Over his 17 years as an engineer at Raytheon, Waldie stayed dedicated to his children, encouraging them in their athletic endeavors and being widely respected as both a supportive father and a valued member of the community. His son, Jeff, was in the Coast Guard and was among the first in the family to hear the news. A change in itinerary put him aboard Flight 11 that crashed into the North Tower.


1978 Waldie 2.jpg

From The Eagle Tribune (North Andover, Massachusetts) on September 22, 2001:

In place of a casket lay an old, faded blue Bible; a supple, worn-in baseball glove and a black-and-white striped basketball referee's uniform; a photograph of blue-eyed Kenneth E. Waldie Jr. smiling in a white tuxedo, and a T-shirt with the number 441/2 circumscribed by a red heart.

The shrine, lit by candles, told the story of an incredibly devoted family man and friend, a coach, a faithful churchgoer, and a lover of sports.

But also telling was the crowd of nearly 1,500 people that attended the memorial service in the Sacred Heart Church of Lawrence yesterday afternoon to mourn the sudden death of Waldie, 46, of Methuen, who was killed when the plane he was on, American Airlines Flight 11, struck the World Trade Center.

Hundreds of co-workers from Raytheon's Andover plant, where Waldie was a quality control engineer, fellow alumni of the United States Naval Academy, children he coached in basketball or baseball overflowed from the church's main chapel. Extra seats had to be set up in the lower level of the church where the memorial was televised.

Waldie, it was clear, touched the lives of many people.

So involved was he in his children's activities that he adopted the nickname "441/2" from the coaches and players on the Methuen High School Basketball team. His daughter, who plays on the team, is number 44.

"He came to every game, every practice, he was always there," said his daughter Meredith, 17, her face streaked with tears. Waldie left behind three other children: Andrew, 24, Jeff, 20, Jonathan, 14; and his wife of 21 years, Carol A. Waldie,.

"There was nothing more important than his family," Waldie's brother, Jack Waldie, told the masses.

Waldie had turned down promotions at Raytheon so he could be home at 4 p.m. to spend time with his family, friend Jude Mulcahey said. Every day before he left for work, Mulcahey added, Waldie would recite to his children the same maxim: "Trust in God and do your best."

On an easel in the lower level of the church rested a collage of pictures of Waldie and his family. In nearly every one, Waldie smiles — what friends termed "that smile" — as he embraces his children, flexes his muscles in a swimming pool, or poses for a picture in his Navy uniform. He served five years of active duty in the Navy after graduating from the Naval Academy, where he was the first person to ever be elected class president four consecutive years.

On the cover of the memorial program is a picture of a young Waldie, dressed in that Navy uniform. Strikingly resembling his father's memorial picture, Waldie's son, Jeff, sat in a Coast Guard uniform next to his mother, occasionally comforting her.

When Jeff Waldie heard of the terrorist attack, he was preparing to go to sea to protect the country, unaware that his father was on one of the planes until his older brother, Andrew, informed him.

Kenneth Waldie shared with his family and friends a love of sports. A Pennsylvania native, he was an unyielding fan of Pittsburgh's professional sports teams, which caused friendly rivalries with his wife, who is a Red Sox fan. He was director of Methuen Youth Basketball for fourth- and fifth-graders and a basketball referee for youth and high school games. Waldie himself was a state championship swimmer in Pennsylvania in 1973 and a regular on adult softball teams.

Friends spoke of Waldie's simplicity and fun-loving humor. Mulcahey recalled that Waldie loved his "sneakers" and would wear black sneakers to work, slightly bending the dress code. "I'll be wearing sneakers the day I die," Mulcahey remembered Waldie saying.

"There's a new dress code for angels. They wear sneakers," Mulcahey said.

From South Coast Today on September 20, 2011:

NEW BEDFORD -- Under other circumstances, Jeffrey Waldie would be aboard the New Bedford-based Coast Guard cutter Campbell providing support and security in New York Harbor.

But these are not normal circumstances, and the 20-year-old Coastguardsman is at home in Methuen giving support to his family, who lost a husband and father in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Kenneth E. Waldie Jr., 46, a Raytheon employee, was a passenger aboard hijacked American Airlines Flight 11, which was the first jet to slam into the twin towers Sept. 11.

He was the son of the late Kenneth Waldie Sr., and of Eileen McKenna Waldie, a New Bedford native who lives in Bethel Park, Pa., which is outside Pittsburgh.

“You’re asking a mother, but I would call him a pretty great guy,” said Mrs. Waldie, who talked with a mother’s pride about her lost son.

She said she had learned late in the afternoon of Sept. 11 that her son was aboard the American Airlines flight, when she came home after going out to lunch with friends.

“He traveled considerably for Raytheon, and he had e-mailed me the day before, and I took it he wasn’t going out of town.

But according to the Lawrence Eagle Tribune, a last-minute change in his itinerary left Mr. Waldie as a passenger on the doomed flight.

“He was quite an athlete,” said Mrs. Waldie of her son, who would coach his sons in Little League and be a regular on the sidelines, cheering for his daughter, a field hockey and basketball star at Methuen High School.

Her son also went to the U.S. Naval Academy, where she said he was president of his class each of his four years.

“It was unheard of for anyone to have been president of his class all four years he was there,” Mrs. Waldie said.

She said after five years of military service, her son went back to school at Northeastern University, where he studied electrical engineering and later joined Raytheon.

In addition to his wife, Carol, Mr. Waldie leaves three sons, Andrew, who was due to be married in October, Jeffrey and Jonathan, and a daughter, Meredith.

Mrs. Waldie said she was born and raised in New Bedford. Her family lived on Park Street in the West End, but she has not been back for years. Her father, the late Charles McKenna, was a former district fire chief with the New Bedford Fire Department.

At the Waldie family residence in Methuen yesterday, a family spokesman said Jeffrey Waldie had gone down to New Bedford to pick up a dress uniform.

Class of 1978

Kenneth is one of 4 members of the Class of 1978 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of the alumni in Memorial Hall.