Among those attending the private memorial was Jeff Skilling, Lay's co-defendant, who quickly slipped into the chapel with his wife and his defense attorney Daniel Petrocelli.
Security was tight at the chapel. Access was granted only to those whose names appeared on the guest list, and when the Lay family arrived in a caravan of black sport utility vehicles, security personnel surrounded the group with umbrellas, obstructing photographers.
The Rev. Bill Lawson, pastor emeritus of Houston's Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, officiated the 90-minute memorial. Joining Lawson in eulogizing the former Enron chairman were longtime family friend and former Enron executive Mick Seidl, Linda Lay's brother Ray Phillips and the five Lay children.
The portrait they painted of the man who once ran the nation's seventh largest company was that of philanthropist, father, grandfather and friend. Little mention was made of Enron, guests said. [...]
While Lay had numerous detractors, many in Aspen remained his friends and fans. Lawson told the gathering of almost 200 that those who are vilified in life — John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and even Jesus — often become heroes in death.
Lawson recited the Lord's Prayer.
Then he read Psalm 18:1-3 and read from the New Testament's Second Corinthians. [...]
Family members coming in from Houston for the service included Ken Lay's children — Elizabeth Vittor with her husband, José Luis Vittor, and Mark Lay with his wife, Natalie — and Linda Lay's children — Beau Herrold with his wife, Heather, Robyn Vermeil and David Herrold. The service was followed by a catered reception on the chapel deck and in the garden.
The catered reception (with an open bar [!], according to the Chronicle's video clip) was involuntarily paid for by Enron's 401(k) plan participants as an unfortunate and unwelcome side effect of their employment.
The writer of the article, Shelby Hodge, is not the Chronicle's business or political reporter, but its society columnist. At the core of the story, Ken Lay was newsworthy not because he was smart or ethical because he was rich and famous.
Here's a guy who had an affair with his secretary (Linda Lay nee Herrold) and screwed his employees. I am baffled why people find such cads as Lay so fascinating when their crimes are about as interesting as convenience store holdups, albeit on a much bigger scale.
The only reason I have followed this story for five long years is not because Lay is intrinsically fascinating in the least, but because this commonplace piece of shit played a pivotal role in delivering the Bush administration into the White House — one of the biggest frauds in the world's formerly great democracy, the USA.