Families Recall Andover Tornado That Claimed Lives, Homes

By: Alicia Myers Email
By: Alicia Myers Email

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Twenty years ago a devastating F5 tornado ripped through Andover and Sedgwick County, killing 17 people.

For anyone unfamiliar with the area, Andover Road looks untouched today.

Twenty years ago it was a different story. For those who lived in the area, it will always be a place that holds memories of great loss.

As the names of those lost in the April 26, 1991 Andover tornado were read Tuesday night, Charles and Daniel Crawford recalled the devastating tornado that took the lives of their mother and step-father.

Ruby Crawford and Job Bobbitt lived in the Golden Spur mobile home park.

Instead of seeking shelter for herself, Ruby insisted on driving others to safety.

Joe refused to leave home.

"I don't know what struck her that night, that she had to save those people. I don't, but I knew that she would," said Charles Crawford. "He said, if it's going to take my house, it might as well take me with it, and it did."

Eleven more lives were lost in the same mobile home park that night.

Dozens lived to tell about it.

"It was like I was picked-up, thrown back against something, and then I woke up under all kinds of stuff," said Stacy Storey, who survived the tornado, but lost her home.

"I don't think I cried for quite a while, until it finally really, really sunk in," said Jane Harris, who survived the tornado, but lost her home.

For the Crawford family, the tragedy of the storm sunk in days later, when their mother was finally found.

"It took us four days to find her. When we did, unfortunately, we found her at the morgue," said Charles.

"I can't believe God took her that day."

Hundreds of photos were found during the clean-up process of the Andover tornado.

Photos will be available for the community to look at, and take home at City Hall through May 3.

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