Glimpses of lives lived, lost

Jose O. Alvarez

, 59, of Joplin. He taught Spanish as an assistant professor at Missouri Southern State University. He was born in Colombia and previously lived in Miami, where he earned a doctorate at Florida International University.

María de Lourdes Alvarez Torres

, 43, was a Mexican citizen and a mother of five. "She was a truly nice person," said Monica Lopez, an acquaintance. Torres was found dead in the parking lot of El Vaquero with her boyfriend Miguel Vázquez Castillo, who was on his way to work at the Joplin restaurant.

Barbara Ann Morgan Anderson

, 76, a retired licensed practical nurse who lived at the Greenbrier nursing home. She was born and grew up in Granby, Mo. She loved to fish. She leaves a son, a daughter, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Sarah L. Anderson

, 47, and

William A. “Bill” Anderson

, 53, died in their home. Their son, Quinton, was injured badly. Sarah worked for the Joplin School District, most recently in an administrative role at South Middle School. Bill was the service manager for Office Concepts, an office equipment company in Joplin. Family “was everything” for the couple, said Paul Charron, who worked with Bill and knew both. They were active at church and supportive of Quinton’s athletic efforts. The teen, who is to be a senior at Joplin High School, played football and baseball. Sarah and Bill are survived by Quinton and their daughter Grace, who was not home when the tornado hit.

Grace Aquino

, 46, of Joplin. Grace and Rizaldy Aquino came to Missouri from the Philippines nine years ago. "To have the American dream," said one of their daughters. Grace and her 12-year-old son, Malachi, were at Harmony Heights Baptist Church when the tornado struck. Rescuers found Grace’s lifeless body, her arms wrapped tight around Malachi. He was safe. Read more about Grace and two others who died at Harmony Heights

in this story


Dale Arsenault,

52, was a drywall technician. He was recovering from a stroke at the Greenbriar nursing home when the tornado hit.

Cyrus Edward "Ed" Ash

, 87. A U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, he was married for 70 years to Emma Landreth Ash. He retired from Lozier Corp., where he worked in the receiving department more than 20 years. An expert billiards player, he was a regular at the Joplin Flea Market and went fishing every day.

Bruce Baillie

, 56, page designer and copy editor at The Joplin Globe since 2003. Co-workers suspected something wrong when he didn’t show up to work immediately after the storm. He leaves one daughter.

Robert W. Baker

, 54, of Joplin. He and wife Sandra sought refuge in their bathroom and were buried beneath rubble. Sandra got to her husband’s side despite a broken ankle and held him in his final moments. They had been married 10 years. He worked at Cycle Connection.

Robert E. "Rob" Bateson Jr.,

a 47-year-old father of three and grandfather of three. He was born in Bowling Green, Ohio, and lived most of his life in Joplin, where he was a member of Central Christian Center. A master plumber, he was self-employed but also did contract work, including at Modine Manufacturing Co.

Dorothy C. Bell

, 88, of Joplin. She was a teacher, farmer and a member of the Order of the Eastern Star and attended Central City Christian Church. Her hobbies included bird watching, traveling, genealogy and reading, and she was an active member of the Joplin YMCA. She leaves three sons and five grandchildren.

Barbara Boyd

, 86, of Joplin, was a resident of the Greenbriar nursing home.

Burnice Bresee

, 91, of Joplin. She died June 22 of health complications following the tornado. She was a a homemaker and a member of Christ Point Church in Joplin.

Lathe Edward Bradfield

, 84. An auto mechanic, he had been the head mechanic at Fleming Foods before retiring. The World War II veteran received a Purple Heart. A Teamster and member of the Disabled American Veterans, Bradfield was an animal lover and a former avid fisherman. Friends affectionately called him Uncle Lathe. He often greeted people with "Hello, friend." Married to Florence Ellen Clifton Bradfield for 64 years. They raised two daughters and a son.

Mona Bridgeford

,77, of Seneca, Mo. It didn’t matter to Mona Bridgeford that her church was 16 miles down the road. She usually went to both morning and evening services, her prayer journal in tow. That Sunday, a friend asked her to skip the evening service. Weather’s looking bad, she told her. Bridgeford grabbed her car keys anyway. If it’s my time, it’s my time, she said with a laugh. What better way to go than to be in church? Bridgeford was one of three women who died when the tornado struck Harmony Heights Baptist Church during services.

Read their stories here


Leo E. Brown

, 86, of Joplin. The longtime minister died when the tornado struck St. John’s Regional Medical Center, where he was a patient. A member of the Joplin Senior High School class of 1943, he attended Manhattan Bible College and Phillips University. He was a retired clergyman of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), having served churches in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Illinois. He leaves his wife, a daughter, a son, two grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

Hugh O. Buttram

, 85, of Joplin, was a veteran of World War II and a salesman for more than 50 years in the insurance business. A native of Texas, he was buried at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery. He leaves his wife, three daughters, two siblings, five grandchildren and one great-grandson.

Tami Campbell

, 28, of Joplin. Because they lacked a basement, she and her husband sent their two boys to relatives two doors down when the sirens sounded. When the sky darkened, Tami and her husband, Steven, laid side by side in an inner hallway. When Steven came to later at a hospital, no one could tell him Tami’s whereabouts. Friends and family searched for her for several days before her body was located at the morgue.

Moises Carmona

, 42, and

Arriy Carmona

, 8, of Joplin. Father and daughter were together at their church, Joplin Full Gospel, for evening services when the tornado struck.

Read their story here


Shante Marie Caton

, 10, and her brother,

Trentan Maurice Steven Caton

, 6, both of Joplin. Her father found Shante’s body beside their destroyed home shortly after the tornado. She was an honor roll student at Eastmorland School, participated in Girl Scouts, played the violin, enjoyed dance and liked peace signs. Trentan died the next day at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. He loved all kinds of sports, played tee-ball and had wanted to start basketball. His family described him as a polite boy who was good in school and liked to ride bikes. He was named star of the month at the Boys Girls Club. The siblings are survived by their parents, a sister and three grandparents.

Raymond L. Chew Sr.

, 66, of Joplin. The heavy-equipment operator worked for the Webb City Special Road District. He served four years in the Marine Corps. He leaves his wife, two sons, a daughter, 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Clyde Coleman

, 72, of Galena, Kan. As the tornado ripped the roof from the Joplin Elks Lodge, Coleman lay atop his 68-year-old wife, Carolene Coleman, no doubt helping save her life. The couple had been married 54 years.

Read more about him here


Carolane Jean Collins

, 62, of Eagle Rock, Mo. She worked more than 30 years as a quality control technician for EaglePicher Technologies in Joplin. She had been a member of the Lighthouse Pentecostal Church in Eagle Rock. She is survived by her husband, a daughter and a stepson.

Lois Comfort

, 67, of Webb City. She was at Pizza Hut with her husband and two friends, waiting for a high school graduation party to begin. She was born and raised in the Bootheel. She and her husband, Larry Comfort, retired after working for a Joplin battery manufacturer. “I survived it, but I don’t know how,” Larry Comfort said.

Keenan K. Conger

, 49, of Carl Junction, Mo., died while saving two treasured dogs. While his fiancee, Cheryl Hardin, sought safety in a bathtub and called for Keenan to join her there, Keenan instead continued to try to secure the two dogs, Sissy and Sally. The dogs survived, as did Hardin. Keenan, who in recent years had undergone surgery on his back, enjoyed working on motorbikes.

James Cookerly

, 49, of Joplin, died June 14. No other details available.

Edmon A. Cooper

, 55, of Joplin. He was a retired mechanic and an Army veteran who served in World War II. He is survived by a son, a daughter, a brother, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.

Vicki L. Cooper,

58, of Joplin. No details available.

Alice Cope

, 79, of Neosho, Mo. She attended Southwest Missouri State College, now Missouri State University. After her children were grown, she returned to Springfield to complete a degree in archeology, and worked on an archeological dig in Israel. She was a member of College Heights Christian Church in Joplin.

Teddy Ray Copher

, 71, was born and raised in Joplin. For 31 years, he worked at Tamko as a paper hydro-pulper operator. Married to Angela Copher, he had one son and six grandchildren.

Malisa Crossley

, 36, of Joplin. Was a customer service clerk at Walmart. Family said she died protecting her 9-year-old son, Chaz Martin; rescue workers found her arms wrapped tightly around him. After four days of searching, family found Chaz alive at a hospital. Another son, Thomas Crossley, also survived. Her family said she loved her children "more than anything."

Adam Darnaby

, 27, of Joplin. The electrician at Jasper Products would have turned 28 this week. He loved to race cars, catch catfish and go four-wheeling or “mudding” with his Jeep. His love and concern for his wife, two brothers and family was unending, the family said.

Patricia E. Dawson

, 74, of Joplin. Born in Kansas City. A homemaker, she was a member of the Temple Baptist Church in Springfield. She leaves three sons, three sisters, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Michael Dennis

, 52, of Galena, Kan. According to his obituary, he was a patient at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Joplin when the tornado hit. He died June 11 at a Springfield hospital.

Nancy Douthitt

, 94. She and her husband, who died in 1989, owned one of Joplin’s longest-operating corner grocery stores, from 1946 to 1987. For years they lived above the store. She was so well known that some Joplin residents recognized her just by the sound of her voice, said son Robert Dawson. A member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, Douthitt loved to talk, and after moving into the Greenbrier nursing facility she spent a lot of time chatting with workers at the front desk.

Ellen Doyle

, 75, of Joplin. She died at her home. A homemaker and lifelong Joplin area resident, she loved family time, eating out and shopping. Survivors include two daughters, five grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, three brothers, two sisters and other relatives.

Faith Dunn

, 71, of Joplin. Born in Canada, she came to Joplin to study at Ozark Bible College and stayed. She worked nearly 20 years in the college’s music department. She also taught sign language, enjoyed horses and attended Park Plaza Christian Church. She leaves a sister and other relatives.

Amonda S. Eastwood

, 49, formerly of Miami and Commerce, Okla. She was outside her nursing home when the tornado hit and died as a result of injuries. Eastwood had been a quadriplegic since a car accident in 1997. A registered nurse, she was described by family as a lovable person with a great personality. She loved people, was a good friend and had a beautiful smile. Survivors include her father and mother, one son, two daughters, three sisters, three grandchildren and other relatives.

Richard Allen Elmore

, 70. Lived at Greenbriar nursing home. Born in Memphis, Tenn., Elmore had been a foreman at Cole Steel in Tulsa, Okla., for many years, retiring in 2003. He was a member of the Saginaw Baptist Church in Joplin. He left a wife, Velta; a sister, two brothers, five sons, five grandchildren, a great-grandchild, three stepchildren and six stepgrandchildren.

Randy England

, 34, of Granby, Mo. He loved to work on cars, and was headed to Joplin on May 22 to look for a car part. His car was found parked in front of the Home Depot.

Read more about him here


Mark L. Farmer

, 56, of Joplin, died May 26. On a memorial website for tornado victims, one person wrote: “Mark was an amazing man who always had a smile on his face. He will be missed greatly.”

Ida Finley

, 89, of Joplin. She was one of many who died when the tornado leveled Greenbriar Nursing Home in Joplin. “She was a pistol, a very proud woman," said her daughter-in-law, Kris Finley. "She didn’t like to ask for help and, matter of fact, would downright refuse it.”

Read more of her story here


Betty Jo Burrington Fisher

, 86. Born in Lubbock, Texas, she had had owned and operated Betty’s Beauty Shop out of her Joplin home for many years. She had been a 4-H leader and enjoyed square dancing. She left three daughters, a son, a brother, four sisters, eight grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and a great-great-grandchild.

Robert Fitzgerald

, 61, of Joplin, died at home. He worked for Walmart for more than 27 years. A Vietnam veteran and avid St. Louis Cardinals fan, he loved reading, collecting music and dressing up as Santa Claus during the holidays. Fitzgerald was a 10-year cancer survivor. He is survived by his wife, his brother, two sisters and other relatives.

Rick E. Fox

, 56, of Joplin. Fox graduated from the EaglePicher training center in 1975 and began work at Joplin Workshops Inc. the next year. He was a member of a Special Olympics bowling team. He attended Calvary Baptist Church as well as First Presbyterian Church. He is survived by his mother, an aunt and many friends.

Marsha Ann Frost

, 32, and her son

Sebastian Charles Frost

, 10, both of Joplin. Marsha Ann Frost was born in Lincoln, Ark., and had been a member of the Christian Life Center in Joplin. She left a son, Gabriel, as well as her parents, a brother and two sisters. Born in Boonville, Mo., Sebastian also was a member of the Christian Life Center. He left a brother, Gabriel, and his father, Roger Frost, of Moberly, Mo.

Charles Gaudsmith

, 21, and his mother, Melisa Renee Johnson, 50, both of Carthage, Mo. Johnson was a homemaker. She leaves a daughter, a brother, a stepfather and three grandchildren. Gaudsmith was a 2009 graduate of Carthage Senior High School, where he was a member of the football and wrestling teams and sang with the show choir. He had been a cook at a McDonald’s restaurant in south Carthage. Gaudsmith, his mother and his longtime girlfriend were shopping at Walmart when the tornado hit. Friends said Gaudsmith covered his girlfriend with his body. She survived.

Billie Gideon

, 77, of Joplin. Son Danny Gideon pulled her from apartment debris. She died at a hospital. She had worked at the Pentecostal Church of God’s headquarters in Joplin. She had four children, 13 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren. Growing up, grandson Dale Benfield thought that she had put the Bibles in hotel rooms across the country.

Robert Griffin

, 61, of Battlefield, Mo., died June 3. Born in Kansas City, he was a graduate of Raytown South High School. He worked more than 18 years for Wickman Gardens. He enjoyed restoring cars, especially Ford Mustangs. He leaves his wife, a daughter, three stepchildren and four grandchildren.

Paul E. Haddock

, 62, was born in Spring City, Mo. He retired after working as a lead and setup welder for Lozier for 25 years. Thirty-seven years ago he married Karen Hartje. He had three brothers and three sons. Haddock was a regular at the Joplin YMCA.

Johnna Hale

, 49, of Joplin. As the tornado sirens blared, Hale was calm. She phoned her daughter; gathered water; corralled her dog, a border collie mix named Star; and hunkered down in the bathtub. But then Star bolted. Out the door, into the storm. And Hale followed. Her body was found with Star in her arms.

Read more about her here


Leola Hardin

. No details available.

Caley Lantz Hare

, 16, of Joplin, was a BMX rider and Joplin High School student. Caley’s mother, Michelle Hare, told CNN that winds ripped her son from a car Sunday night and that his body was located after a four-day search.

Dorothy V. Hartman

, 91, of Joplin, died in the arms of her husband of 70 years while receiving rehab at the Greenbriar nursing home. A homemaker, she was a longtime member of Bethel Methodist Church, south of Carthage. An excellent cook and seamstress, she enjoyed crocheting and quilting. Hartman was described as having lots of friends and as someone who “couldn’t be beat.” Her last words were “I love you” to her husband. She also leaves a daughter, two granddaughters, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren and other relatives.

Dee Ann Hayward

, 47, of Galena, Kan. Born in Glendora, Calif., she had lived in Galena since 1977. For the past four years, she had worked for Hallmark Cards maintaining displays in area Walmart stores. She was a member of Riverton Friends Church of Riverton, Kan., and a former Sunday school teacher. She traveled to Brazil and Jamaica on missionary trips. She loved music. She leaves her husband, two sons, one daughter, her mother, two brothers, one sister and other relatives.

Judy R. Head

, 56, of Joplin. No other details available.

Kenneth J. Henson

, 56, of Joplin. No details available.

Glenn Holland

, 59, and

Lorie Holland

, 48, of Joplin. Glenn was retired from the U.S. Air Force and was an avid skeet shooter. Lorie had been an architectural drafter before taking time off about five years ago, choosing to work occasional part-time jobs.

Read more about them here


Charlotte Hopwood

, 84, of Joplin. Someone posted May 30 on an online memorial page: “Charlotte you are missed greatly. I tell people who ask about you that you were A Groovy Hip Ole Chic.”

Russel T. “Rusty” Howard

, 29,

Harli Jayce Howard

, 5, and

Hayze Cole Howard

, 19 months, of Webb City. The children died along with their dad, who held them in his arms, in the Home Depot. Rusty Howard was a Kansas National Guard member and an electrician for PCS Phosphates. He enjoyed fishing, riding motorcycles and making friends. Harli was known as the family chatterbox.

Iona Hull

, 70, of Carthage, Mo. Born in Meade, Kan. She was a homemaker and member of the Joplin Full Gospel Church. Survivors include two daughters, one brother, two sisters, nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Wendy Ann Istas

, 58, Joplin. An accountant, Istas co-owned and operated J-W Solutions with her husband, Jason. She was a director for the Stained Glass Theatre in Joplin and a member of its board. She is survived by Jason and four children.

Jane Jaynes

, 86, of Joplin, had owned and operated Gene’s Dairy Jane at 26th and Main streets in Joplin from 1960 to 1985 with her husband, Eugene, who preceded her in death in 1998.

Melisa Renee Johnson

, 50, and her son, Charles Gaudsmith, 21, both of Carthage. Johnson was a homemaker. She leaves a daughter, a brother, a stepfather and three grandchildren. Gaudsmith was a 2009 graduate of Carthage Senior High School, where he was a member of the football and wrestling teams and sang with the show choir. He had been a cook at a McDonald’s restaurant in south Carthage. Gaudsmith, his mother and his longtime girlfriend were shopping at Walmart when the tornado hit. Friends said Gaudsmith covered his girlfriend with his body. She survived.

Cheryl L. Jones

, 39, of Altamont, Kan., was a patient at St. John’s Regional Medical Center when the storm hit.

Kathy S. Keling

, 53, of Joplin. A native of Springfield, she was active in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). “The love she showed her family will remain inside them forever,” her obituary said. She leaves two children, five grandchildren and other relatives.

James “David” Kendrick

, 63, of Joplin. A Vietnam veteran, he worked for 40 years with explosives at Atlas Powder and its successors. He retired in 2010. He enjoyed fishing and went on an annual fishing trip with friends for more than 40 years. He also prospected for gold in Alaska and was a member of the Gold Prospecting Association of America. He was a member of the Elks Club, where he died. Survivors include seven siblings, a daughter and a grandson.

Abraham H. Khoury

, 26 of Joplin. Died two days after tornado in a Columbia hospital. Born in Stillwater, Okla., he lived most of his life in Joplin and graduated in 2004 from Joplin High. He was pursuing a business and entrepreneurship degree at Missouri Southern State University and worked as a server at Outback Steakhouse. He loved fishing, camping and playing poker. He leaves his parents, three brothers, a sister, a stepbrother and other relatives.

Stanley Dale Kirk

, 62, of Joplin. The National Guard member was an aircraft engine technician for 38 years at Rocketdyne, Teledyne, Sabreliner and Premier Turbines. He leaves his wife, a daughter, a son and three stepchildren.

Geneva Koler

, 84, of Joplin, lived at Greenbriar Nursing Home. She grew up in near Galena but moved to Chicago at about age 20. She returned to the area 30 years later and worked as a seamstress. She had cancer but was in good spirits Sunday, brother Richard Eutsler said. She leaves two sons and two grandchildren.

Tedra Jewell Kuhn,

69, of Joplin, was a homemaker. Grandson Brandon Getz said she was always happy and enjoyed her family and going to the casino. “She never had a bad thing to say about anybody, even if she rightfully knew in her head there was something wrong with them,” he said. She leaves two sons and a sister, plus grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Don Lansaw Jr.

, 31, of Joplin. As the tornado ripped through their home, Bethany and Don Lansaw sought shelter in their bathtub. With a layer of pillows between them, Don Lansaw draped himself over Bethany, using his body to shield his 26-year-old wife. They would’ve been married six years in July.