60 years ago tornado killed eight in county PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Friday, 07 June 2013 09:12
Alfred Bremer stands amid the destruction left by the June 8, 1953 tornado. Bremer survived the by taking his family to a ditch. (Photo: Tommy Vail)
Saturday marks 60 years since a tornado killed eight people, including five children, as it cut a 20-mile path across rural areas of southern Wood County.
The local storm was part of a massive tornado outbreak that killed more than 130 people in Ohio and Michigan that day and many more the following day, especially in Massachusetts.
The Wood County victims included a mother and her four children, a second child at another location and two men at separate locations. Several other people were injured.
Sentinel-Tribune staffer Ivan E. Lake's story on June 9, 1953 filled several columns. It included comments from residents who saw the tornado form in extreme southwestern Wood County just east of Deshler, people who fled their homes and took cover in ditches and culverts, and those who got into their automobiles and fled the
A tornado passes Jerry City Road in this 1953 historic photograph taken in southern Wood County. Saturday marks the 60th anniversary since the tornado cut a 20-mile path of destruction across southern Wood County.
(Photo provided)
In those days there was little advance warning of storms and Lake's story indicates at least some of the victims were not aware of the threat until their homes were destroyed around them.
The dead were:
• Mrs. Harvey Kline, 36, and her children, Jerry Lee, 14, Linda Lou, 11, Gale, 9, and Keith, 3, at their home on Milton Road, three miles east of Deshler. Harvey Kline was working on a farm in the area and came home to find his family were victims of the storm.
• Barbara Perry, 5, of Dixie Highway (now Ohio 25), just south of Bays Road. Her mother, Betty, was injured.
• Frank Phillips, 53, on Cygnet Road near Liberty Hi Road. His wife was injured.
• Ernest Fulmer, 68, at the corner of Mermill and Cloverdale roads. His wife was injured.
The path of the storm was also evident through damage to many woodlots.
Livestock and many horses were killed outright by the storm or were killed after the storm because of injuries.
Some residents reported finding hailstones with a diameter of 2.5 inches.
A resident of Reynolds Road reported seeing the funnel lift into the clouds north and east of him, near what was then U.S. 23 (now Ohio 199) and south of U.S. 6 near the hamlet of New Rochester.
Damage was later estimated at upwards of $1.5 million.
The Sentinel-Tribune later reported that 21 homes were destroyed, 16 others damaged, 26 barns were destroyed and four others damaged. The storm destroyed one county bridge on Bays Road.
In the aftermath of the storm many area groups and civic organizations put together relief efforts to help clean up the debris and help the victims get back on their feet.
Ohio Gov. Frank Lausche visited the county and also visited damaged areas of Cleveland in the days following the tornadoes.
Last Updated on Friday, 07 June 2013 09:53

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