Nearly two years after dedication, family upset that Hyatt Skywalk Memorial errors haven’t been fixed

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A memorial stands to honor dozens of people killed in the Skywalk collapse at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City that happened July 17, 1981.

But nearly two years after it's dedication, some families say they don't have closure.

Paul Farris said that 18 months after the dedication of this memorial, his father's name is still misspelled. He said three other names are too.

As soon as FOX 4's Melissa Stern spoke to the people in charge, they said the mistakes will be fixed.

“I just want it done. I want to be able to walk up here with my family and see my father`s name for the first time on the memorial, he hasn`t been here since day one, someone else is there that we don`t recognize, it`s not my father,” said Farris, who lost his father, Louis Farris.

Paul was just 15, but every time he visits the memorial dedicated to the people killed in the disaster, he said he doesn't see his dad.

“One of my cousins found me and she said, you need to brace yourself, they spelled your dad`s name wrong,” Farris added. “It said 'Lois', L-O-I-S, his name is 'Louis', L-O-U-I-S.”

“The day that we had the groundbreaking, in November of 2015, we became aware that there was a misspelling on the memorial,” said Heather McMichael, a board member of the Skywalk Memorial Foundation. “The Skywalk board wants to apologize to the families, particularly the Farris family, for the misspelling, that was never our intention, and we’re doing everything we can now to bring a resolution. We’re a non-profit, our board doesn’t take a salary, we’re all volunteers, and we basically didn’t have the money to make the corrections.”

Louis Farris was a captain for the St. Joseph Fire Department, and very active in his community. His son, Paul, said seeing his father`s name misspelled was a slap in the face.

“At first I didn`t believe it, I thought okay, this is not a very good joke, and as we got closer, and I got to take a look at it, it was devastating, heartbreaking, and honestly it just felt very disrespectful,” Farris said.

But Farris’s name isn`t the only one misspelled; there are at least three other names spelled incorrectly. The Skywalk board said it apologizes for the mistake.

“Mistakes happen, we did our best, we used a list we thought we had from a long time ago that was accurate, we checked it to the best of our ability,” McMichael said.

Farris said he`s been in contact with the memorial foundation about the issue for almost two years, and is thankful something is finally being done.

“We`re ready for closure, our family wants to come up and be able to celebrate his memory, bring closure to this, and just have peace of mind,” added Farris.

The Skywalk Memorial Foundation has hired a company to fix the memorial and said that donations will be used to help cover the cost of the repairs. It's expected to cost around $15,000.

The Skywalk Memorial Foundation has two Facebook pages — now would be the time to let them know if you’re aware of another name spelled wrong.
The Skywalk Memorial Foundation continues to accept donations through the greater Kansas City Community Foundation – where their funds are set up.
If you would like to make a donation, you can go to this link.