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Woodward News - Thursday, April 9, 1992
Reprint of a story that appeared in the Woodward Daily Press on April 14, 1947.

Burial Of Dead Began Saturday With Two Infants
By Carter Bradley - United Press Correspondent

April 12: Woodward began to bury its dead Saturday in a cold, driving rainstorm as the ravaged city's tornado death list increased to eighty-four, making the total of 147 killed in the Texas-Oklahoma storm area.

Despite the rain, thousands of outsiders crowded into Woodward. Most of them relatives of the dead and of the approximately 400 persons in hospitals

The first funeral was a committal service at Elmwood cemetery for Ray Lee Harper, 4, and Henry C. Harper, Jr., 2 months.

"Let not your heart be troubled: Ye believe in God, believe also in me.

In my Father's house are many mansions. It if were no so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."

Birg. Edward Laity of the Salvation Army quoted the passages from St. John as the plain box caskets were lowered into the muddy earth. The parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry C. Harper, two other relatives, and three grave diggers were the only persons present.

Laity read the scriptures after Ernest Wixson, another Salvation Army official had sung, "Safe in the Arms of Jesus." His voice rang out solid with the patter of a hard rain as the only accompaniment.

The Salvation Army official then returned to Emergency Control Headquarters to continue as director of the identification section.

Warren Freeman, an Amarillo florist and two aides, Paul Dollarhide and Jim Wright of Amarillo, came to Woodward Saturday night to make sprays for funerals of the tornado victims held in Woodward.

Working from a truck in the driveway of Armstrong's Funeral Home, the men made a spray for every burial. They used flowers contributed by John Furrows, wholesale florist at Guthrie, and Colorado flower growers of Denver.

Many other victims died from injuries in the weeks and months to come. The final death count in Woodward was to stand at 104.

Note: Reports of final death count varies. Spelling of names not always correct in newspaper accounts. Conflicting reports make it difficult to determine the acutal death count and all the victims. Some listed below could have been victims in other counties and buried in a cemetery in that county.

Can't be certain this is 100% correct because of conflicting sources and unreliable newspaper lists.
Lives lost in the Tornado of "47"
      1. ATTWELL, Alfred 2
      2. ATWELL, J. M.
      3. BAKER, Thomas Ivy., age 76 1
      4. BALL, Hallie
      5. BEASLEY, Darlene
      6. BRUMLEY, Roy Albert 1
      7. CATLETT, Cecil John 1
      8. CATTLET, Johnny Gottschalk (CATLET)
      9. CATLETT, Raymond 1
      10. CATLETT, Sarah Edith 1
      11. CHANCE, Daniel S. 1
      12. COOLEY, Betty Lorene 4
      13. COOMBES, Lorenzo Bright, age 89
      14. COSBY, Betty
      15. CROFT, Mrs. H. O.
      16. CROWE, Ethel E. (Mrs. Bill CROWL) 1
      17. CROWE, Willaim A. (Bill CROWL) 1
      18. CUNNINGHAM, Carl Douglas 1
      19. DAMRON, Charles
      20. DAMRON, Paula Gayle 1
      21. DART, Fred W. 1
      22. DART, Lloyd
      23. DAUGHERTY, Ray Dean 1
      24. DAVIS, Ernest Gaylord See Davidson
      25. DAVIS, LaVina
      26. DAVIS, Ward
      27. DAVIDSON, Ernest Gaylord 1
      28. DEID, Thomas Marion, age 76 (DEEDS) 1
      29. DRAKE, Harry
      30. DUBRINSKI, Hattie
      31. DUKE, Robert Harrison
      32. FIEL, Eldeen Bert (Eldon Ray?)
      33. FIEL, Eldine Marie 3
      34. FIEL, Eldon Ray 3
      35. FIEL, Roberta Jean 3
      36. FISKIN, Irene Elizabeth 1
      37. GOBLE, Cleta Mae Croft 1
      38. GEISWIN, Mrs. John
      39. GLACEN, Nelson Owen
      40. GLASS, Clyde
      41. GOTTSCHALK, Johnny
      42. GRAYSON, Milton Owen 1
      43. GRIMM, Beryl
      44. GUSBAR, Lena
      45. HAGEMAN, Anna D. (HAGERMAN) 1
      46. HAGEMAN, John W. (HAGERMAN) 1
      47. HARPER, Henry C., Jr. 1
      48. HARPER, Lou Ellen
      49. HARPER, Monty Lawrence
      50. HARPER, Roy Lea 1
      51. HAWK, Mary (HAWKS) 4
      52. HAYES, Cliff
      53. HAYES, Thomas C. 1
      54. HINGSTON, Georgia Mae 6
      55. HOLCOMB, Kay Frances 1
      56. HOLSTER, Treana Dale
      57. HOULETTE, Sue Ann 1
      58. HUTCHISON, Jimmie Lee 1
      59. HUTCHISON, Olan Leslie 1
      60. IRVIN, Flossie Belle Taylor 1
      61. IRVIN, George Merrill (IRWIN) 1
      62. JOHNSTON, Delores Alice
      63. JORDAN, Grover A. 5
      64. KEESER, Dollie (Mary Eliza Kezer),
             "Woodward's first Madam" age 89 1
      65. KOLLAR, Pauline Franics 1
      66. KNIGHT, Louis Raymond 6
      67. KREGER, Glendola 1
      68. KREGER, Kathryn 1
      69. KRUGER, Bill
      70. LAFON, Muriel 1
      71. LAVER, Amanda F. 1
      72. LITTLE, Elizabeth Ann
      73. LONG, Delmer Lee 1
      74. LUCAS, George F. (George Edward LUCAS) 1
      75. LUKES, Albert D. 1
      76. LUKES, Patsy 1
      77. MAIN, Minnie Marie 1
      78. MARSTON, Darla Ann 1
      79. MARSTON, Goldie A. 1
      80. MacLAREN, Merritt Richard (McLaren) 1
      81. MITCH, Thomas Noble
      82. MORGAN, Charles
      83. MORRISON, Mrs. Damon
      84. MORROW, Fred 1
      85. MYERS, Robert T. 1
      86. PANTLE, Gloria L. 1
      87. PIERSON, Florence
      88. POLLARD, Earl Allen 4
      89. POLLARD, Pauline 4
      90. PORTER, Ruth J. 1
      91. POUNDER, Leo
      92. RABE, Dottie Mae 1
      93. REID, Bertha Edith (REED) 1
      94. RIETH, Peter William, age 83
      95. ROSENBROOK, Allbert M. 1
      96. ROSENDALE, Clarence 7
      97. SCHARNHORST, Bessie (SCHORNHORST)
      98. SCHARNHORST, Ruby Carol (SCHORNHORST)
      99. SCHNEIDER, Leon Gene 1
      100. SHIDLER, Beulah Mae 1
      101. SHUTT, A. L.
      102. SHYLER, Beulah
      103. STALETT, Baby
      104. STEED, Cora Ann Nixon, age 83 1
      105. STORY, Elton Dean 1
      106. SWIFT, Mrs. Bill
      107. TRUEBLOOD, Mary
      108. UNIDENTIFIED, Girl
      109. WALKER, Erwin Vincent, age 50 1
      110. WARREN, Laverne
      111. WARRINER, A. J. 1
      112. *WINGATE, Carol Diane (Wingent, Carol I.) 1
      113. WINGENT, Irene Elizabeth 1
      114. WOOD, Sam 1


      115. Incorrectly reported as a victim, he was flown to Oklahoma City for treatment of severe injuries, but survived. Paula Gayle, his infant daughter, did not survive.
        1Elmwood Cemetery
        2Dunlap Cemetery
        3Gnadenfeld Cemetery
             FIEL, Johnny, not listed above
        4Mooreland Cemetery
        5Persimmon Cemetery
        6Praire View Cemetery
        7Fargo Cemetery, Fargo, OK

Information taken from Woodward News, The Daily Oklahoman, Woodward Daily Press, Elmwood Cemetery Ledgers (incomplete search)


Ages of Tornado Victims Sought

     A list of victims, school-age and younger, of the 1947 tornado that claimed the lives of 104 people is being compiled by the research sub-committee for the 50th anniversary memorial.

     One of the research co-chairmen, has asked readers to help with the search for the ages of the people on the list.

     "We have discovered the ages of everyone else on the fatality list. These names are the only ones that we are uncertain about."

The names are:
        James Behler
        Lorenzo Coombs
        Carl Cunningham
        Lillie Durell
        Catherine Fithian
        Irene Grisler
        Lou Ellen Harper
        Georgia Hingston
        Charles Morgan
        Thomas N. Mitch
        Dottie Rabe
        Bertha Reed
        Peter Rieth
        Al Schutt
        Everett Smith
        Laverne Warren


     The proposed memorial will be erected on the site of Central School, the building that was damaged by the tornado and torn down. Central was located on what is now the south campus of Woodward Middle School.

     The memorial will be inscribed with the names of school children and those younger who died in the storm or from injuries sustained in the storm. If those children were living today, they would be between the ages of 50 and 68.

     In one of the newspaper accounts of the tornado death toll, there is a fatality listed as Baby Stalett. No other casualty list has that name.

     "We have not been able to find any information at all about that child, " a spokesperson said. "It might have been a misprint, a name misspelled that was different in all of the other lists."

     An unveiling ceremony will be held on April 9, the 50th anniversary of the disaster.

An article appearing in the Woodward News, Wednesday, January 15, 1997, by staff writer Helen Mossman.




Tornado Photos
Click on photo to see larger view

Funnel 1947 tornado
The Tornado
Tornado at Higgins,  TX
Higgins, TX
Safeway Marker
Safeway Market
Business District
Business District
The cow survived the storm
Bossie survives
Woodward County Court House
Court House
 Destruction of town
The town
 
Links to more Tornado information on this web site.

Tornado Intro Tornado Timeline Tornado Path Tornado Story
Tornado Heroes Tornado Victims Tornado Trivia After Tornado
        Oklahoma Independent History and Genealogy
        Oklahoma Independent History and Genealogy

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