41st Memorial Service 2017 Summary

2017 Forty One years after the 1976 Big Thompson flood, people who had never attended the memorial service, are still blessing us with their presence. All of the stories of where, when and what they were doing that night, are both heart wrenching and amazing to hear.

The program consisted of some of our favorites, Daryle Klassen, Jerry Shaffer, and Pastor Paul Logue. Bob Graham graciously agreed to share his memories of that night with us. He spoke through the tears as he relived that fateful night when he lost his mother Clara, wife Bev and daughters Teresa and Lisa. By the grace of God and Bob’s will to survive he made it through the darkness and into the morning light. Thank you, Bob, for having the courage to share your experience with us.

The Big Thompson Memorial Scholarship fund was honored to present four scholarships last year. The recipients were as follows: Drew Lang, Haley Haskell, Trenton Drake Allison, and Shannon Peistrup. We have been so blessed to be able to continue presenting the Scholarships, and will continue as long as there are funds to do so.

At the end of the service, the BTCFM board asked for a show of hands giving two choices, the first being to continue having a service each year as we have in the past, or have a potluck with folks bringing a covered dish. It was decided that we would look forward to having the covered dish for the next couple of year and look at having a more structured services on the 45thand 50th anniversaries. We will keep you updated as the years go by. We don’t want to lose contact with any of you so if any of you get a new Email or call, please contact us  Barbie39btc@yahoo.com or 970-667-6465.

The BTVFD have been so gracious to let us to use their building the past few year, The volunteer firemen keep an eye on the Memorial, and scoop snow when we can’t get up there. We are so blessed to have them looking out for the Memorial. If you see a can sitting out for donations to the firemen stick a few dollars in to show your appreciation.

For the 2018 gathering, we will have a time of remembering the lost, and presentation of the Scholarships. We have 4 scholarships to be presented, which is exciting. In changing the way we are doing this, you’re loved one’s will always be remembered. Likely on the 45th and the 50th we will have a service with a program. You can call me at 970-667-6465 or Marlene 303-683-2832 if you have any questions or suggestions. See you on the 31st at 7:00 PM.

39th Memorial Remembrance Service 2015 Summary

39th Memorial Remembrance Service 2015 Summary

Wow we had another memorable service for the 39th year; everything had a special place & time. A Gentleman contacted me from Fort Collins and asks if it would be possible to have a service acknowledging the first responders that came in 1976 to rescue people & look for those missing. We were thrilled & willing to listen to his plans. His name is Dave Livinghouse such a kind sole with a big heart; he was a first responder himself for the Sheriffs dept. He started brainstorming & had several Good ideas, when one door closed he opened another, never getting discouraged.

The service was beautiful & very heartfelt. There were several first responders & dignitaries that spoke & Dave himself shared what he had held inside for so long. He got a balloon company who came to the firehouse & blew up 139 red balloons and 5 white ones for the ones never found all this done just before the service. He had it all figured out how many in one group on the rope and where to cut it. I know somehow he felt responsible for the ones never found. The releasing of the balloons was a way for the first responders to let them go after 39 years. Dave is a very compassionate man with a big heart, Thank you Dave for everything.

Philip Stephens (Mango) played and sang for the last time at our service, he is going back to Hawaii in Nov. to live; he will be missed so much he has always been willing to play & sing at our services. Thank you so much for sharing your tender heart, beautiful voice, and songs.

We presented three Scholarships this year one to Dinah Appelbaum, & Caleb Morningstar who could not attend & to Alyssa’s Emmons who’s mother Kim presented her scholarship in Memory of Lois McCargo her Great Grandmother, Kim’s Grandmother, & Lois was Marlene Johnson Mother. It was very special to have them all together for the service.

Our Speaker John Pellouchoud spoke of being a first responder in 1976, & his memories were still very vivid and still raw 39 years later. He then shared how he almost lost his life in the 2013 flood & had to be rescued himself. Very touching, thank you John for sharing your scariest moment of your life with us, we felt like we were there with you. If you would like to hear his story go to Shaun Boyd on channel 4 & goggle his name & I think you can hear it all. Well worth your time.

The candles were lit by Tina, as she lit each one Dave released the five white balloons for those never found, it was breath taking.

Our 40th Remembrance service, is coming way too fast, hope to see all of you there.

Thank you to all who helped to make this service possible.

God Bless you all, Shawn, Peggy, Marlene, and Barb

38th Memorial Remembrance Service July 31st 2014 Summary

38th Memorial Remembrance Service July 31st 2014 Summary

I meant to do this right after the Memorial last year not sure why we are so busy but we are. We had a very well attended service with new faces, new feelings, and sadly a new Memorial plaque for Evelyn Starner and Patty Goodwine the 2 Ladies from Cedar Cove who lost their lives in the flood of Sept 13, 2013 in the Big Thompson Canyon. It brought up tucked away memories of the 1976 flood to all of us.

The program began with Shawn welcoming everyone and sharing what a difficult year it had been. Pastor Paul Logue read scripture Isaiah 58:10 “Then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always.” After a few words, he dedicated the new Memorial to the east of the existing one which is made of stone hand laid by Kit Kittinger, the bronze Heart was sculptured by Artist George Walbye with the inscription as follows,

Patty Evelyn

Goodwine Starner

Age 60 Age 79

Residents of Cedar Cove

At approximately 2:15 am. September 13-2013

these two beautiful lives were taken as they were swept away

along with their homes, when our Peaceful Big Thompson River

became a raging torrent due to heavy rain fall. The rain

lasting for three days devastated the entire canyon.

These two ladies will be missed greatly

by their Families, Friends, & Neighbors…


Music by Mango from Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch was wonderful. Then 3 Scholarships were presented which is always a joy to see these wonderful students making something of their lives and how proud their Grandparents would have been of them.

The speaker Jerry Shaffer relived that night of how he almost lost his life in 1976 and how he was trying to save his neighbor and friend Ealy Lee when he felt him go limp in his arms and had to let go. I know going back to that night and reliving it after 38 years was not easy. We thank him so much for sharing his very personal story with us and living through another flood in 2013. As the service closed he sang the song “Through it all” as our tears rolled during the lighting of the candles for the 5 who were never found. We had refreshments and lots of visiting afterwards. Thanks to all who could attend, all who helped, also the Volunteer firemen for helping and allowing us to use their facilities it was greatly appreciated.

We want to wish you all a late Merry Christmas, and a Prosperous New Year.

The Board, Shawn, Peggy, Marlene, and Barb, God Bless you all.

“May the Memories that mean the most to you, live forever in your Hearts”

37th Remembrance Service July 31st 2013 Summary

37th Remembrance Service July 31st 2013 Summary

Do you ever wonder who really is in charge of the Memorial Service’s? One thing I know is it is not us!!!!!.

Each time after the service my mind starts wondering as to what next year will bring. The services are always very heartfelt and meaningful, directed by Gods leading.

This service was also just that. Jodi (Zeiler) Bell spoke with me last year and asked me if I knew she sang and played the Gautier, (to music her mom wrote). Of course I didn’t, but said I would kept it in my notes and I did then contacted her later and ask if would like to sing at this year’s memorial service, she of course said yes. She sang “Hello to you” and “With God’s Love” with great poise. Her mom would have been as proud of her as was Jodi’s daughter, husband, Grama, Aunt, and family. To lose your Momma at age 4 then 33 years later sing the songs she wrote at the 37th Remembrance Service was an honor for us and a blessing for her. Thank you to Jodi for sharing this very sad, but special part of your life with us.

Rev. John Carlson Jodi’s Pastor gave the Message “The Healing River” It was so wonderful and meaningful for all those at the service. His message will be attached for all to read.

We were very proud to present 6 scholarships this year. Special Thank You to Lee Lasson who explained how the Estes Park Duck Race works, and to all of you who adopted a duck or 6 plus several won prizes, it is a lot of work and very rewarding. We received $2,204.00 back from them. Then also we also received $2,000.00 from the Estes Park Community Thrift shop. That gave us enough for 4 full Scholarships. If you have stuff to get rid of the Thrift shop is a great place to take it. We are so thankful for both donations.

As the Candles were being lit for those 5 never found, Jodi was singing “One day at a time sweet Jesus”. A family member was present for each, Teresa Graham, her father Bob, Evelyn Kindred, her son Gordon, George McCarty, represented by Tina, Vernon Oler, his Daughter Sue, Rochelle Rogers, her sister Jana and niece Gabrielle.

John Carlson closed in Prayer, and we all had snacks and a time of visiting.

Thank you to all who attended, and May We Never Forget.

Sincerely Barb, Shawn, Marlene, and Peggy

The Healing River – July 31, 2013 – John Carlson

The Healing River – July 31, 2013 – John Carlson

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Psalm 46:1-7

It is the nature of rivers to change things.  Sometimes in a rush, usually over a long period of time. 

Nik Wallenda: walked on a steel cable over the Grand Canyon a few weeks ago. I watched him on live TV. I was riveted to the screen, my hands clenched, as Nik grabbed his stabilizing bar and walked over the canyon, no safety harness, and no parachute. While the rest of the world was marveling at his steady walk 1,500 feet above the canyon river; I was wondering how many millions of years it took for that river to carve that great canyon. Scientists suggest somewhere between six and ten million years for the relatively small river to make the grand canyon.

Tonight I wonder about the Big Thompson? What was it like here 6 million years ago before the formations came which we know today. Water is a powerful force. And the power unleashed on this day in 1976 became unforgettable to those who lost so much, whose lives were changed so dramatically. Since then, we have grown to accept the changes brought with force and speed that day. The river changed the entire Big Thompson canyon. Rock formations, currents, width, depth, road bed, even locations of key points: Everything changed in a matter of hours. And the river changed us. And we return every year to honor the change, to remember the loss, to both grieve and celebrate in new ways. Grieving and celebration are very close cousins. The same event can be the source of profound hurt and great joy. It becomes the challenge of our own spiritual path to accept and allow this paradox. Being here today can excite tears and laughter in nearly the same breath.

So I propose today the The Big Thompson has become a healing river – symbolizing the sacred respect that comes with deep change.

The streams of life carve out new directions for our course all the time.  Our journey is a life long process of change, pain, and healing — allowing the river of time to shape our way, shape our path, and shape our love.  Healing is not forgetting.  Healing is remembering. It is a way to celebrate life. Journeys are not static. They are fluid. As fluid as the churning waters below us. Our assignment in life is to honor change. Understand that life flows forward. Learning to appreciate the rise and fall, the ebb and flow, the deep still pools and the raging rapids. Life is a long, enjoyable, hard journey of change. Change is ever-present and inescapable — which is why it’s essential to live in the moment as much as possible.  Every moment in time lasts for only a split second. Weather changes.  Seasons change.  Relationships change.  Countries, borders, governments, leaders, laws, cultures, products, habits, customs, thoughts, bodies – everything you can think of changes.  Some changes happen in the blink of an eye. Others take millenia. But everything changes.

Yet notice how often we make ourselves miserable because we resist change. What changes have you and I been resisting lately? And how would our experience of these changes be transformed by letting go of our resistance to them? What would it be like to accept change as a gift and go with the flow?

It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: but it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.
C. S. Lewis

On our journey, we can maybe get to a place where we can give thanks for the hard events which have forced us to change. Loss is one of those events. Loss is not only inevitable, it is essential to move forward. My first traumatic loss was at the age of 15 when my grandfather died of a sudden heart attack. He was an anchor and a rock in my life. As I worked along his side, he become an inspiration. When I lost him, I believed I had lost my rock. But over time, as I accepted the loss, I realized I was growing up in new ways. His inspiration lived inside me, in my memory of him. I was forced to no longer depend on his words or his direction. But his spirit shaped my own direction. The loss became the launching place for my own spirit to grow and move forward.

May this day be a day for us to remember the loss we endured 37 years ago. And may we also be in touch with the journey since then as we reflect on the changes which have graced our path over the years. Some memories fade. Some remain vivid as if from yesterday.

May the Big Thompson come alive in our hearts as the healing river that destiny had in store.

Prayer: Oh healing river, send down your waters. Shower us with your grace. Flood our dry spirits with springs from your eternal and healing pools. May our journey be strengthened by faith in your abiding love. Amen.

Benediction Prayer

May the love of God be above you to overshadow you, beneath you to uphold you, before you to guide you, behind you to protect you, close beside you and within you to make you able for all things, and to reward your faithfulness with the joy and peace which the world cannot give — neither can it take away. Amen.

2012 Memorial Service Summary

2012 Memorial Service Summary

The 36th Remembrance Service was beautiful, serene and no rain. I am sure all of your loved ones & friends were smiling down on us, as we were thinking of all of them.

We had a little different service this year which turned out beautiful. It began with a song by Mango (Phil Stephens) who works at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, who was originally from Hawaii. The music was wonderful; he brought two Hula dancers Kevin & Amy that performed to the songs. It was more graceful, serene, and beautiful than I had hoped for. God always brings someone to us, and he did again as our daughter Tina, works with him at the ranch.

Rev. Paul Logue from the Estes Park Baptist church read meaningful scripture from Isaiah 43:1-3 & Psalms 29:1-11 & offered Prayer. Linda Mariner spoke on Cedar Cove & shared memories of her Father (“Doc” Lee) whom she lost. Her Mother Mary and Sister Sandy were spared even through their house moved down stream with them in it, never to be the same again. We thank you for sharing your cherished memories with us. It took a lot of strength because they have been private all these years. Mango then sang the song “Turn Turn Turn” at Linda’s request. Beautiful!!

Four Scholarships were presented by the board. Two were present Molly Nelson and Heidi Young our first Great Great Grandchild. Not present were Colton Clark & Alexandra Little. The Hula Dancers performed with serenity as Mango sang “You Raise Me Up”.

The Candles were lit for the five that were never found, Evelyn Kindred, Vernon Oler, George McCarty, Teresa Graham, & Rochelle Rogers by Tina Seaman as Mango sang “Candle on the Water”. (Very moving.)

We closed with Amazing Grace, Mango sang it in Hawaiian and then we all sang it, as the Dancers performed. It was beautiful!!! Rev. Logue closed in Prayer.

Once again thank you for your support through the year. Thank you to all who were able to attend. We saw some new faces this year and missed those of you who could not attend. Hope to see you all next year. Have a beautiful rest of the summer, great fall, and little snow as possible! Sadly July 29-12 we lost Bill Reinhart a Cedar Cove survivor, he will be missed. Our condolence’s to his Family.

God Bless you all, Barb & the Board

2011 Memorial Service Summary

2011 Memorial Service Summary

The 35th Memorial Service held on July 31st, 2011 was very memorable, & touching. As we gathered at the Memorial site it is a bitter sweet, you want to be there but you don’t want to remember that awful night. However we owe it to the 144 who lost their lives that dreadful night. We as survivors have had 35 years of family gatherings, children and grandchildren. They would want all of us to live our lives and go on, but we must never, never forget them.

The Memorial Service was well attended, in spite of the dark cloud that gathered, and gave us a show that that reminded us Mother Nature is still in control. Many people watched as the American Legion Riders, District #4 formed and presented the flag line. What an awesome site to see, as all that is happening the Highway Patrol Honor Guard was forming to Present our Nations Colors. As the service began, they came forward ever so silently, and placed the Flags at each side of the Memorial. Captain Tim Keeton and Trooper Afsoon Ansari remained holding the Flags (as the wind was blowing) throughout the service. The two other officers were Sergeant Dave Blatner, & Sergeant Steve Krebs who retired at the back. We felt so honored to have them there as they too were remembering their fellow officer Sgt. W. Hugh Purdy who gave his life while warning others.

Daryle Klassen delivered his thoughts paraphrasing the Gettysburg Address, it was awesome. (I will attach a Copy of it.) Prayer was given by Rev. Ruegsegger. Alex Vitalle (one of the first scholarship recipients) thanked the Memorial for his Scholarship which helped him through College. He said, through it all he learned so much more about his Great Grandparents, Gene & Faith Saunders.

We Presented 6 Scholarships 5 were not able to attend but were represented by grandparents, aunts & uncles which was great. Kayla Taylor was present she lost her Great Grandparents, Vernon & Nettie Oler. It is always nice to meet the Students, & we wish them all the best in their Careers.

Lonnie Salyer performed by singing 2 songs’ “Help Me” & “God Bless America” both very fitting & touching. Phyllis (Conley) Marks shared her heart felt Memories of that awful Night, ending with the fact she had realized when talking to a friend that she was not a victim she was a survivor (she had always felt like a victim of the flood) that has given her strength as she says, “Time Does Heal.”

The names were read by Rev. Jim Sheets & Rev. Harvey Ruegsegger. A candle was lit for each one by their family as their names were read. The rest of the candles were lit by others who represented those with no family present. Tina Seaman lit the memory Candles for those 5 who were never found. Captain Tim Keeton, presented the Colorado flag to Phyllis in memory of her husband Michel Conley whose life was given while saving others. (He was with the Police Department in Estes Park.)

The Flags were retired, in the same respectful manner, and Prayer was offered by Rev. Jim Sheets, which he Thanked God for Holding off the Rain. Many Candles were placed on the Memorial bricks, some simply held onto them*****we then gathered at the building for visiting and refreshments, there is never enough time for visiting. Thanks to all who attended see you next July 31st.

Sincerely Barb, Shawn, Peg, & Marlene

2010 Memorial Service Summary

2010 Memorial Service Summary

I can’t begin to tell you what you missed if you were not here, words cannot describe it. Every service has a special meaning, and this one truly did.

It began with Bruce Stark welcoming everyone and telling what he remembered about that night and the days that followed. (He lost his father in law, Ealy Lee) His description was unbelievable. I never knew what he went through.

I then talked about our brick layer Kit Kittenger and had him come forward so that all could see this wonderful man, who had stuck with us for 9 years. Seems impossible!!!! He did such a wonderful job and he was always ready and willing to come lay the bricks when we had another order ready. We can’t thank him enough for all he did. The best part is the lasting friendship we now have.

Lonnie Salyer then sang “Precious Memories” with such feeling; it came straight from his heart. Larry Flambeau from Keokuk Iowa Followed by telling of his horrible experience that night being in a tree hanging on for his life and Praying that he made it. Not a dry eye as he spoke of all he saw with the help of lighting as it was passing by him.  He saw Michael Conley going by hanging onto a telephone pole. He saw his brother in law be swept away, and the Henry family and others he did not know. What a night to never to be forgotten. We thank you Larry for sharing your memories and your most cherished ones of your beloved Brother in Law Greg Harmon. “God Bless you”

Shawn, Peggy, Marlene, and I  presented the Scholarships to Callie Morningstar, Megan Fitzpatrick, Joseph Morningstar, Shelby Korgan-Kramer, Erin Bass, and Kathryn Phelps, what a thrill to be able to present this many in one year.

Bruce spoke about our donations from the Duck race in Estes Park, receiving $1,159.00 from them this year. (So when I email you next spring about duck race tickets maybe you can help us get it higher, you know 19 of every $20 dollars comes back to us. We also received $1,000.00 from the Estes Park Community Thrift shop, selling books and other donations. It all adds up to a scholarship. As long as we have money we will continue to do them.

Tina Seaman then explained the reason for turning on the 5 candles as we have done since the 25th remembrance service. Those five represent the ones who were never found, Evelyn Kindred, Vernon Oler, George McCarty, Teresa Graham, and Rochelle Rogers. It was very touching and meaningful as she did so with shaking hands.

Lonnie then sang “Amazing Grace” and Joey Morningstar one of the recipients, closed with a beautiful Prayer.

The weather was beautiful. We went to the Association Building for refreshments and lots of visiting. It was great! Thank you to all who helped, and all who just pitched in. A special Thank you to the ones who drove so far to be with us and those who live here it was good to see each of you.

See you next year at the 35th. Remember to check the website now and then for changes.

Love to all of you.   Sincerely Barb