Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Local News

May 22, 2012

The untold story of Continental Flight 11

CENTERVILLE — Forward and italics by Duane Crawford

Since 2008, I have been searching for the coroner or the FBI reports to find the accurate names and other information about the Continental Airlines Boeing 707 Flight 11 that crashed near Unionville on May 22, 1962, killing all 45 crew members and passengers. Despite letters to Continental Airlines and other inquiries, I was unsuccessful. Recently, I found even more than I was looking for in the Putnam County Historical Society and Museum.

Mr. Charles B. DePuy, a reporter for the Daily Iowegian, wrote the “untold story” on June 22, 1962, because Centerville and surrounding areas played a huge role in helping with the tragedy. The rest of this article is credited to his research and writing, and I am deeply grateful for his contribution, as we will have a 50th Anniversary Remembrance Service at 11 a.m. on May 26, 2012 on the northeast corner of the Unionville square.    

            *                *                *

It would seem impossible, considering the reams that have been written, but there is still a story about the crash of Flight 11 that hasn’t been written.

It’s a sad story, but one that can be written with pride, for everyone who had a part in it far beyond the normal and in the best tradition of the Golden Rule.

It was the heart of the tragedy, the broken heart, the business of identifying and caring for the dead.

Identity had to be final and complete. If a crime was involved, it had to be final and complete for that reason, and tragic fake hope had to be allayed if any existed.

We talked to L. J. Johnson, of the Johnson Funeral Home in Centerville and with Dr. Charles L. Judd of Unionville, Mo.

Ambulances and funeral home officials were asked to stand by together with physicians of the area on the night of the crash. That started about 10 p.m. Tuesday night, May 22, 1962.

From that time and until the last body was returned to relatives and friends at the point of origin, a monumental task was completed with reverence and respect to the dead, and their grieving families.

Key man in the task of caring for the dead outside the FBI was Dr. Judd, head of the Monroe Hospital in Unionville, Mo., who is also coroner of Putnam County. He has received two letters since. They are as follows:

Text Only
Local News
  • A.C. history by Enfys McMurry April 16, 1861: By this date the news that President Lincoln wanted volunteers to fight for the preservation of the Union was the talk of Appanoose County. Centerville's reaction to the national crisis was immediate. Flags were placed at the old log-

    April 16, 2014

  • Informational meetings Organizing for Main Street is pressing on after their Jan. 16 presentation to Main Street Iowa officials who denied their application to be a part of the Main Street Iowa program. Last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, April 8-10, for one hour each da

    April 16, 2014

  • Spawning fish for better fishing The annual spring fish netting is underway at Rathbun Lake, Spirit Lake and Guttenberg and will begin Tuesday night at Storm Lake, as the spawning season picks up steam. Staff from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources collects walleye, northern p

    April 16, 2014

  • 'Teach Children To Save' in Appanoose County Iowa Trust and Savings Bank partnered with local schools to celebrate Teach Children To Save Day with savings education on April 10 and 11. More than 185 local youths explored lessons designed to educate students on the value of saving money. Establ

    April 16, 2014

  • Supervisors dealing with vacancy

    Iowa Code states if there is a vacancy in an elected county office then there are two ways to fill the vacancy, one being that county’s board of supervisors can make an appointment, the other by special election.

    April 16, 2014 1 Story

  • Local Easter egg hunts The annual Moravia Easter egg hunt is at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 19 at City Park. The Faith United Methodist Church Easter egg hunt is at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 19 at the church on Highway 5 south. For all children in pre-k through sixth grade. If i

    April 16, 2014

  • Prison for Centerville man John Frank Thomasson, 30, of Centerville, was sentenced March 28 in the Appanoose County Courthouse to a total of six years in state prison. Thomasson was charged by Appanoose County Attorney Richard F. Scott by trial information on Oct. 29, 2013 wit

    April 15, 2014

  • A.C. history by Enyfs McMurry April 15, 1923/4: Centerville's radio station WDAX (see April 11's column) ceased operations suddenly and unexpectedly. The cause: the station, said the government, was not run by a licensed operator. It did come back onto the air, reconditioned and

    April 15, 2014

  • Healthy Appanoose: Week 14 The 14th week of the Healthy Appanoose Challenges are printed below. The free program can be joined anytime throughout the year. Log in at the Centerville-Rathbun Lake Area Chamber of Commerce at www.centerville-ia.com to record challenges completed.

    April 15, 2014

  • 041514 AC Civil War Part 5 Photo 1 Disaster at the Battle of Marks' Mills Appanoose County men of the 36th Iowa Infantry under Lt. Col. Francis M. Drake of Unionville, Iowa, along with men of the 18th Iowa Infantry under Capt. William Duncan of Osceola and 1st Lt. Joseph K. Morey of Centerville remained embedded deep in Co

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Dept. to begin 10-hour days The Appanoose County Secondary Roads Department announced Friday it will begin working 10-hour days for the summer months beginning on Monday, April 21. Department hours will be from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday with the office open Fr

    April 15, 2014

  • 041414 Trees Photo Trees Forever to work on Levee pocket park Centerville is branching out with new trees thanks to a $1,440 grant from Alliant Energy. Joyce E. Thomas, president of the local Trees Forever said the money will go toward planting more trees in Centerville and the group will begin in the Levee are

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • M-U signs new superintendent agreement MOULTON -- Tough decisions were put into action last Tuesday at the Moulton-Udell School board meeting. The board of education gave their OK to move forward with approximately $200,000 worth of budget reductions, as the school attempts to stay within

    April 14, 2014

  • Miller-Meeks in Centerville Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks will be in Centerville from 10-10:45 a.m. on Wednesday, April 16 at The Garage, 207 N. 13th St. Miller-Meeks is in this race to win the Republican primary and defeat Congressman Dave Loebsack in November. "The people of I

    April 14, 2014

  • A.C. history by Enfys McMurry April 14, 1912: People learned the shocking news of the sinking of the Titanic. The Iowegian's headline was followed by a second, also shocking to Appanoose County people: "Mystic Man Loses Wife and Children." The Mystic man was Franck Lefebre. He wa

    April 14, 2014

Obituaries
Featured Ads
Poll

The Iowegian wants readers to think about food prices. Are you paying more than you were last year for certain food items? According to a survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation, "the cost of 16 food items" increased by 3.5 over 2013, as reported by the Des Moines Register. So, the question of the week is, "Are you feeling the food price increase pinch?"

A. Yes, and it hurts.
B. No, I don't feel a thing.
C. Not sure.
     View Results
Iowegian on Facebook