New Hartford Honors Tornado Victims

By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter


By Katie Wiedemann

NEW HARTFORD - After destroying almost half of Parkersburg the tornado tore through New Hartford, killing two people. Family members had to run two miles on foot to 71-year-old Leasa Bleeker's home after the storm. They found the house gone,and her body in the front yard.

Relatives also rushed to Norman Beuthien that day. He was caught outside his rural New Hartford home when the tornado came through. The storms winds and flying debris killed Beuthien.

She knew in an instant. Beuthien’s Mother, Mary Jane Spriggs said, "I had a feeling it was Norman, I don't know why."

After hearing the tornado killed someone in New Hartford, something told Spriggs to get in the car and find her son. But when she arrived, he was gone.
Now, one year later she's back, overwhelmed by the community support. But a hug and a hand-shake doesn't heal the heartache.

Spriggs said, "Yes, I miss him, every day."

With the toss of some dirt, two trees now stand tall in Packwaukee Park.
Each tree tells a story. Each tree honors a life.

Sheila Callan said, "Myself I have learned you can't take life for granted."

The tornado took Sheila Callan's grandma. Now both families hope the two trees will stand strong for long time.

Spriggs said, "It means a lot to us because we can come back and watch it grow, and it's his."

There's new life in New Hartford, and these families look forward to the memories living on.

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