Special Reports

The victims: Glimpses of lives lived, lost

The tornado that struck Joplin on May 22, 2011, killed 162 people who ranged in age from a toddler to a 94-year-old. Shortly after the storm, The Star began piecing together a list of those who died to let our readers know a little about how they lived. 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.

Casey Lantz Hare

, 16, of Joplin, was a BMX rider and Joplin High School student. Casey’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.

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


Ronnie Holloway

, 68, of Joplin, died Aug. 15 at a nursing home in Carthage. He suffered a spinal injury when a wall fell on him and another person.

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.

Dorothy Johnston

, 91, of Joplin, died Sept. 11 at a Carthage nursing home. She had suffered a brain injury in the storm.

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.

Read the full story here


Bruce Allen Lievens

, 48, of Joplin, was an auction clerk for more than 30 years. A quiet person, he loved sports and antiques. "His nieces and nephews were his life," said his father, Jim Lievens. "He attended any sports events they were ever in." Bruce had left home to buy a light for a nephew’s snake terrarium when he was caught in the tornado; his body was found in Duquesne, Mo. He leaves his parents, four siblings and 13 nieces and nephews.

Billie S. Little

, 65, of Joplin, was a waitress. She leaves behind a daughter, a grandson and siblings.

Skyular Logsdon

, 16 months, of Joplin. Sucked away from his family home near 26th Street and Maiden Lane. Subject of a days-long search. His injured parents and grandparents survived.

Christopher D. Lucas

, 27. The Pizza Hut manager was lauded as a hero for getting customers and co-workers into a walk-in freezer as the storm hit and trying to hold the door closed. A Navy veteran, he was the father of two, with another child on the way.

Patricia Mann,

64, of Joplin. No information available.

Rachel Markham

, 33, of Joplin. She was at her cousin's home when the tornado struck. The two took shelter in a closet, but it wouldn’t be until days later that Markham’s body was located. She was five months pregnant.

Read more of her story here


Nancy M. Martin

, 52, was a lifelong resident of Neosho, Mo., where she was a special-needs caregiver at the New Visions Group Homes. "Nancy was always smiling, always in a good mood," said boss Karen Hines. "She was a really good person." Co-worker Marilyn Sarratt said Nancy "was real proud of her two boys and her granddaughter," who survive her.

Janice McKee

, 60, of Wyandotte, Okla. No other details were available.

Jesse L. McKee

, 44, of Neosho, Mo. He was an Air Force veteran and a self-employed electrician who enjoyed fishing, hunting and playing music. He leaves his mother, his wife, three children and two sisters.

James and Mary McKeel

, both in their 60s, of Joplin. They were married seven years. Jim was a former baker, Mary a former elementary school cook who enjoyed playing cards. Their bodies were found, together, several blocks from their house. Mary was about to become a great-grandmother. “Mary was a good-hearted, loving person, and so was Jim,” said Mary’s sister, Twyla Murphy.

LaDonna S. (Journot) McPurdy

, 68, of Joplin. She died of her injuries two days after the tornado. She was a hair stylist in Parsons, Kan., before moving to Carl Junction, Mo., in 2005. She had taught classes at Vatterott College in Joplin. A member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Joplin, she enjoyed painting, ceramics, gardening, fishing and traveling. She leaves her husband, one son, four daughters, a stepson, 27 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren and one sister.

Randall Elvin Mell

, 49, of Webb City. He was a custodian for the Jasper County Courthouse in Carthage. He enjoyed attending theater, music and sports events. "It didn’t make any difference whether it was a ballgame, a rodeo or a play," said Roy Stafford Jr., a longtime boss. Randall died at the Stained Glass Theater in Joplin, where Stafford said he had gone to see a show. "He was a wonderful, wonderful person," according to co-worker Judy Korn, who said friends planned to install a stone bench and plant a Japanese maple on the courthouse lawn in his memory. He leaves his parents and a sister.

Angelina Menapace

, 50, died in her house. The rest of the family survived. Her last words were, “Are the grandkids OK?” She leaves three children and two grandchildren.

Ronald D. Meyer

, 64, of Joplin, died at home. He was born in Metropolis, Ill., and lived in Murfreesboro, Tenn., before moving to Joplin in 2008. He worked as a night auditor for hotels until he became the full-time caregiver for his brother George. An Air Force veteran, he served in the Vietnam War.

Lorna “Kay” Miller,

72, of Joplin, liked to sew and read. She loved nature, particularly bird watching, and was a member of East Joplin Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. She leaves two siblings, a daughter and two grandchildren.

Ray Donald “Tripp” Miller III

, 49, of Joplin. Born with Down syndrome, he died Monday at a hospital. He worked 27 years at Joplin Workshop Inc. The member of First Presbyterian Church in Joplin enjoyed bowling, friends, sports and participating in the Special Olympics. According to his obituary, “he didn’t know a stranger.”

Suzanne M. Mock

, 38, of Forsyth, Mo. She leaves a husband, two daughters and two grandchildren.

Doris Marie Menhusen Montgomery

, 83, of Joplin. She lived 13 years in Tonganoxie before returning to Joplin two years ago. A former teacher in Kansas, she left three daughters, a son, some stepchildren, nine grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and nine great-great-grandchildren.

Edith “Edie” Louise Moore

, 48, was a homemaker and native of Columbus, Kan., who had lived in Joplin for several years. Her brother Herman Froelich remembered her devotion to her two children — he called them her “greatest passion” — and her love of cats that she adopted. She also enjoyed reading poetry.

Estrellita “Ester” M. Moore,

64, of Joplin, was born in the Philippines. She was a hairdresser at J.C. Penney and was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church. She loved going to the casino.

Sally Moulton,

58, of Joplin. Moulton was in a theater troupe that had been performing “I Remember Mama” at the Stained Glass Theater just before the tornado struck. Moulton was playing the role of Aunt Jenny. She was a graduate of Mascoutah High School in Mascoutah, Ill., where she worked at a nursing home before moving to Joplin.

Georgia Nadine Mulkey

, 91, of Joplin. Died June 1. A lifelong Joplin area resident, she had worked in food service and was a member of First Baptist Church. She leaves four children, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Edmond V. Mullaney

, 82, of Hollister, Mo. Born in Michigan, he had served in the U.S. Marine Corps and was a member of the Knights of Columbus and Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church. He leaves his wife, sister and brother.

Sharyl San Miguel Nelsen

, 34, of Webb City, Mo. She died at the AT store, where she worked. “She was happy all the time, very caring, very generous,” said husband Chad Nelsen. “She would help anybody.” She was passionate about music and had an almost encyclopedic knowledge of bands, he said. She did a lot of traveling while younger and once attended high school in Budapest, Hungary. In later life, she went to Missouri Southern State University, at one point to study criminal justice. She leaves a husband and three children.

William Richard “Will” Norton

, 18, of Joplin, was driving with his father when they were struck by the tornado. Norton, who had graduated from Joplin High School a few hours earlier, was thrown or sucked out through the sunroof and was found in a pond a few days later, ending an agonizing search by family and friends. He was active on Twitter and YouTube, where he had many followers, and volunteered in the community. He leaves his parents and a sister.

Dennis Osborn

, 34, of Seneca, Mo. A member of the Missouri National Guard, Osborn was among those called to help after the tornado. The call went unanswered. He is believed to have died at the Home Depot. His family has set funeral services for Sunday, with graveside military rites to be conducted by members of his unit.

Charles E. Oster

, 77, and daughter Lorretta Lea Randall, 54, both of Joplin. Oster served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and was a deacon at First Christian Church of Webb City. He leaves a wife, three children and six grandchildren. Randall died from her injuries May 23. She taught at the SEK Learning Center in Girard, Kan., a school serving students with behavior challenges from 13 southeast Kansas counties. She was a member of the First Christian Church of Webb City, the National Education Association and Smoke-Free Webb City.

Shirley Ann Parker

, 68, of Joplin, retired in 2008 after a long career as a mammography technician in Albuquerque, N.M. She leaves a son, a daughter and six grandchildren.

Nichole Pearish

, 23, of Joplin, died June 4 at a Columbia hospital. A 2006 graduate of Sarcoxie High School, she was a customer service supervisor with Aegis Communications, a member of the Route 66 Cloggers and a member of First Baptist Church of Sarcoxie. She leaves her parents, six brothers, one sister and other relatives.

Mary J. Perry,

76, of Joplin. A lifetime area resident, she worked for the C.J. Uniform Shop and previously had worked for Prudential Insurance and KODE-TV.

James "Ben" Peterson

, 27, of Joplin. A 2003 graduate of Joplin High School, he worked at McDonald’s on Main Street. He leaves his mother, stepfather, sister, grandmother and other relatives.

Anna Pettek

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

John H. Petty Jr.

, 37, of Neosho. Born in Illinois, he moved to the Neosho area five years ago and worked at Jasper Products in Joplin. He served two years in the Army Rangers. He leaves his parents, two daughters, a fiancee and her two children. He played guitar and was a member of a band, Iris Road.

Marie Piquard

, 78, of Joplin. At Harmony Heights Baptist Church, Piquard always seemed to know who needed that extra boost. She remembered church members’ birthdays and noticed when someone’s face reflected problems. She would send a card and note. Her messages went deep and usually opened friendships. “You never had to ask for help. She’d just do it,” Geneia Macken said. Piquard was one of three people killed at Harmony Heights when the tornado struck.

Read their stories here


Natalia Puebla

, 17, of Carthage, Mo. Natalia and her aunt, Sandra Thomas were among four people who died when the tornado struck Joplin Full Gospel Church. As the roof caved in around them, Natalia's mother, Latina Puebla, remembers Natalia holding tight to Sandra while praying and speaking in tongues. “She was in direct communication with the Lord she was about to go see,” Latina said.

Read the full story here. Troy Ramey

, 39, of Joplin, was a resident of the Meadows Care Center. Weakened by cancer, he died a day after the tornado from apparent psychological trauma related to the storm, according to Newton County Coroner Mark Bridges.

Shelly Gray Ramsey

, 42. The bartender at the Elks Lodge leaves two children.

Lorretta Lea Randall

54, and father Charles E. Oster, 77, both of Joplin. Randall died from her injuries May 23. She taught at the SEK Learning Center in Girard, Kan., a school serving students with behavior challenges from 13 southeast Kansas counties. She was a member of the First Christian Church of Webb City, the National Education Association and Smoke-Free Webb City. Oster served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and was a deacon at First Christian Church of Webb City. He leaves a wife, three children and six grandchildren.

Cheryl E. Rantz

, 62, of Carl Junction, Mo. She had worked as a tax preparer for H Block, according to her obituary. A longtime Joplin-area resident, she died May 30.

Darlene K. Ray

, 63, of Galena, Kan., was a former King Louie Manufacturing seamstress. She died June 1.

Virgil “Tom” Reid

, 77, of Columbus, Kan., was an Army veteran, gardener, coin collector and retired owner of SEK Construction. He leaves his wife, five children, multiple grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Johnnie Richey

, 52, of Joplin. Johnnie had been an Elks member since age 19, like his father. It was an organization where he could help others. A place he went to laugh, to dance. And the place where he died.

Read his story here


Vicki Robertson

, 66, of Joplin. Her family has deep roots in Joplin, going back several generations. She lived in Germany for a while as a child. She leaves five children, all in the Joplin area.

Cayla Ann Selsor Robinson

, 64, of Joplin, died June 4. A lifetime area resident and homemaker, she attended Frisco Church in Webb City and later Forest Park Baptist Church in Joplin. She leaves three daughters, one son, a brother, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Keith Derek Robinson

, 50, of Joplin. Was working as a CNA at the Greenbriar Nursing Home when the tornado hit. Previously worked 18 years for Freeman Hospital. Known for motivating patients to do their rehabilitation. Enjoyed watching old movies. He leaves his mother, a sister, a brother and other relatives.

Margaret Ellen Row

, 50, of Joplin. According to her obituary, she died June 6 in a Springfield hospital. Row was a nurse, and had worked at Mercy Hospital in Independence, Kan., and St. John’s Hospital in Joplin. She most recently was working as a hospice nurse in Joplin.

Virginia Mae Salmon

, 80, of Duquesne, Mo. A homemaker with a wonderful sense of humor, she was born in Wichita and lived in California 34 years before moving to Joplin in 1973. She loved shopping, family time and listening to country and gospel music. She leaves a daughter, four sons, 15 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren, five great-great-grandchildren and other relatives.

Grace M. Sanders

, 82, of Carthage, Mo. According to her obituary, Sanders was recovering from surgery at Joplin’s St. John’s Hospital when the tornado struck. She was treated for her injuries and later went home, but then required more surgery. Sanders, a longtime bookkeeper at the Joplin Stockyards, died June 20 of complications, the obituary said.

Thomas Sarino

, 75, of Joplin. A naturalized American citizen, he lived alone in a Joplin apartment. His family lives in the Philippines. He had worked for Warner Brother Inc.’s finance department in New York before moving to Joplin in 1995 to work in finance for the Loma Linda Golf Resort. He was retired.

Tonja L. “Toni” Sawyer

, 41, of Fort Scott, Kan. A newlywed, she worked at Taco Bell in Fort Scott and enjoyed painting, collecting antiques and writing short stories and poems. An animal lover, she often took in strays. She attended Apostolic Pentecostal Church. She leaves her husband, four children, her father, siblings and other relatives.

Frances A. Scates

, 70, died in her Joplin home. A Freistatt, Mo., native who formerly lived in Monett, Mo., she attended St. John’s Lutheran Church in Freistatt. Survivors include two sons, three daughters, 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Gladys J. Seay

, 83, of Welch, Okla., was at St. John’s Regional Medical Center when the tornado hit. The longtime licensed practical nurse spent hours in public libraries studying family history and learned that some ancestors came over in the 1700s on a boat called the Nancy. A Mormon, she leaves two sons, two daughters, 13 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.

Daniel Wayne Shirley

, 48, of Joplin. Traveled all over the United States and Canada as a salesman with a carnival. He moved to Goodman, Mo., to be closer with family following an illness, and had been living at Greenbriar since February. He enjoyed metal detector hunting, fishing and collecting knives and guns. He leaves a brother, two sisters and other relatives.

Judy Lee Smith

, 71, spent most of her life in Joplin and was once the owner and operator of the Second Hand Rose consignment store. Daughter Nikki Oliver said Smith had always been scared of tornadoes and even built a storm cellar after a one hit in the 1970s. She was at the Greenbriar nursing home during the May 22 tornado and died after being transported first to a hospital in Pittsburg, Kan., and then to a nursing home in Cassville. She is survived by two daughters, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Luther Gene Smith

, 71, of Joplin, lived in the area his entire life and worked for the Union Pacific Railroad for 24 years. A Navy veteran, he also served 29 years with the National Guard and the Naval Reserve. He enjoyed bowling, football and baseball. He leaves a wife, two children and three grandchildren.

Nicholaus A. Smith

, 23, of Joplin, was known to friends by the name “Chill.”

Shyrell L. Smith

, 68, of Pittsburg, Kan. A registered nurse, she was headed to work at Freeman East Hospital when the tornado hit.

Lois L. Sparks

, 92, of Joplin. Born in Wichita. Was married to Wallace Sparks for 71 years, until his death in 2007. A member of the Order of the Eastern Star, she was a devout Baptist and worked many years in childhood evangelism. She leaves a son, four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Steven J. Haack Stephens

, 28, of Joplin. Born in Holdrege, Neb., he was a construction worker and a Baptist. He leaves his wife, three children, his father, a sister and other relatives.

Betty Stogsdill

, 83, of Joplin, died June 8. The holder of two master’s degrees, she taught high school in Chicago before moving to Joplin in 1994 and extending her career as a substitute teacher. She attended Forest Park Baptist Church.

Ralph Gilbert Stover

, 85, of Joplin, died June 3 of injuries suffered at St. John’s Hospital. The native of Columbus, Kan., started Stover’s Floor Covering in 1970 and ran it until retiring in 2001. The First United Methodist Church member loved woodworking and gardening. He leaves his wife, a son, two daughters, nine grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and other relatives.

J.T. Strickland,

85, of Joplin, was a motel manager and Korean War veteran. He died July 8 at a Monett nursing home of injuries he suffered in the tornado, according to Simpson Funeral Home of Webb City.

Gregan D. Sweet

, 59, of Joplin, was at the Pizza Hut with his wife when the tornado hit, according to his son’s Facebook posting. His wife survived.

Jeff Taylor

, 31, of Kansas City. Taylor, a police officer in Riverside, died after he was struck by lightning May 23 while helping search for victims in Joplin. Fellow officers said Taylor would be remembered for his dedication to a demanding job. But he also was known as a fun-loving person who enjoyed a good joke and spending time with family and friends. "If you were having a bad day, he would tell you a joke and make you smile," Riverside police Sgt. Dean Noll said. Taylor was a 1998 graduate of Harrisonville High School. He graduated in May 2001 from the police academy at Missouri Southern State College, which is in Joplin.

Kayleigh Savannah Teal

, 16, of Seneca, Mo. An sophomore at Seneca High School, Teal was working at a Pizza Hut in Joplin when the tornado came through.

Read more about Kayleigh here


Heather Leigh Terry

, 36, of Joplin. A lifelong area resident, she worked at La Barge in Joplin. She had been married 14 months. She leaves her husband, parents, sister and other relatives.

John L. Thomas Jr.

, 40, of Joplin. Born in Wichita, he worked for Jasper products in Joplin. He enjoyed fishing, golfing, hunting and football and was known as a workaholic. He leaves four children and other relatives.

Sandra Thomas

, 55, of Carthage, Mo. Thomas and her 17-year-old niece, Natalia Puebla, were among four people who died when the tornado struck Joplin Full Gospel Church. As the roof caved in around them, Natalia's mother, Latina Puebla, remembers Natalia holding tight to Sandra.

Read the full story here. Zachary Delbert Treadwell

, 9, of Joplin. The third-grader loved the outdoors, playing soccer and fishing. A big fan of Pokemon, he liked to sing and had a mature sense of humor. He leaves his mother, father, sister, brother and other relatives.

Margaret A. Tutt

, 92, of Joplin. She is survived by a daughter and two grandchildren.

Michael Eugene Tyndall

, 33, of Joplin. A construction equipment operator, he used to work at Wolfman’s House of Screams, a haunted house in Carl Junction, Mo., where he once earned a trophy for never missing a day of work. The paranormal fascinated Tyndall, according to haunted-house boss Reggie Pippin, who said: "He was just a happy guy." Tyndall leaves his mother, three children and three siblings.

Darian Vanderhoofven

, 44, and

Joshua Vanderhoofven

, 13 months, of Joplin. Mother and her infant son died when their home was destroyed.

Read the full story here


Miguel Vázquez Castillo

, 28. A Mexican citizen, he came to the U.S. a year and a half ago to "pursue his dream," according to a Mexican newspaper, and he worked at El Vaquero, a restaurant in Joplin. "He was the funniest man ever," co-worker Monica Lopez said. "He was the light of our whole entire crew." Employees found him dead in the parking lot with his girlfriend, María de Lourdes Alvarez Torres.

Dean Wells

, 59. He died while guiding others to safety in the Home Depot.

Read a story about him here


Tiera Nicole Whitley

, 20, of Fort Scott, Kan. Born in Overland Park. A talented artist and photographer, she enjoyed fishing and woodworking. She worked as a shift manager at the Taco Bell in Fort Scott. She leaves her parents, a sister, a brother and other relatives.

Douglas Williams,

52, of Purdy, Mo., died June 3. Born and raised in Texas, he moved to Purdy in 2005. He enjoyed gardening, raising horses and time with his dog, Tuff. He leaves his wife, a daughter, four stepdaughters and other relatives.

Regina Mae Bloxham Williams

, 55, of Joplin, grew up in Nevada and moved to Missouri in 1992, first living in Carthage and then Joplin. She worked for AT as a customer service representative. She leaves her husband, three daughters, two sons, two grandchildren and other relatives.

Zachary Williams

, 12, of Joplin. Family members spent days searching for him, even spray-painting a message on a battered truck that said, “Looking 4 Zachary Williams, age 12.”

Charles W. Writer

, 74, of Purdy, Mo. After serving 10 years in the Navy, he worked for Pryor Motor Co. before running his own companies, including a gas station and High Point Trucking Co. He leaves his wife, four sons, four daughters, 18 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.