1970 Marshall Plane Crash: We Remember

What are your memories of Nov. 14, 1970? Share them here.

Monday, November 27, 2006

'Hope the upcoming movie does justice'

I was not even born when the plane crashed, but I attended Ferrum College while Hank Norton was still the head coach there. I saw, even twenty years later, the scar that this crash left on the Ferrum Community. I can not even imagine the scars in the Marshall Community. I hope this upcoming movie does justice to all of the people and communities involed. God bless.


'Stunned to hear the sad news'

I was a a 20 year old junior at East Carolina. Me and a friend went to the game that night. It was pretty much what you did in Greenville on a Saturday night. We were winning the game, so me and my buddy decided to get an early jump to our car. We leaped down the stairs of the grandstands to try an beat the crowd out of the stadium. I walked smack into the Marshall team leaving the field. I was 5'9 about 145 pounds and I remember those guys seemed huge to me. It's like they had surrounded us, jogging, knocking into us making contact with me and my friend on their way to the clubhouse. We were later stunned to hear the sad news and also to know that we had touched many of them only a few shorts hours before. I never forgot that. I am looking forward to the film and hope that McG got it right.

-Chris F.
ECU '72

Monday, November 20, 2006

'Not a day goes by'

I remember the night oh too well. A number of us had been working to make sure a schedule demonstration regarding racial intolerance on the campus would be peaceful. Redd, Bill Dodson, Angela Dodson, were in dialogue with a number of white student leaders to avert any violence. The news came on and all talk of demonstrations, of race, of racial inequality stopped. We were a family, and we had lost so many of our family members. As a local resident, I not only lost campus friends and classmates, but members of the community. Murrill Ralsten, Mike Prestera, Dr. Chambers, Happy and Elain Heath, Marcelo.....so many come to mind. I can almost name all of them on the plane.

Not a day goes by, now 36 years later, that I don't think about them and my heart grieves.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

'His life was just beginning and cut short'

I graduated from Eastmoor High School class of 1968. Rick Lech was our President of Student council and a all around good guy. He always had a smile on this face and was well liked by all. He was good at basketball and football. I also knew his brother Ron that was a year younger. I remember the girls really liked Rick. I could not believe it when I heard of the crash. I had known he was off to Marshall on a scholarship. His life was just beginning and cut short. I pray he is happy and looking down on us. May God Bless.

'In memory of Mark Andrews, Jack Repasy and Bob Harris'

In memory of Mark Andrews, Jack Repasy and Bob Harris.

Mark was my brother, and he was best friends with Jack and Bob. They played football together at Moeller High School in Cincinnati, and then went to Marshall together. They seemed to have it all. I was a freshman at Ohio State when they died, and on the radio James Taylor's song "Fire and Rain" played often. It always made me think of Mark, who died in fire and rain. A few weeks after the crash, we studied this poem in my English class (a strange coincidence). It was by A. E. Housman:


THE time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.

To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.

Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay,
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.

Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears:
Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.

So set, before its echoes fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.

And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl's.

- Becky Andrews Reed

'May God Bless You'

I will never forget that night. I was a member of the Wayne County Civil Defence Search and Rescue Unit. I was the second first responder on the scene that night. I would like to take this time to say to the victims' families May God Bless You. I also would like to thank all the men and women who was a part of the recovery of the victims. I know first hand what you have gone through all these years afterwards. I will always love Marshall Football. Win or lose always remember that "We Are Marshall."

- Damon Slone

Thursday, November 16, 2006

'I didn't believe it'

I was on out third floor listening to music when my Mother came and told me about the Marshall plane crash. I didn't believe it. Wichita State's football team had one of their planes go down a couple weeks before. I knew some of the players on the team, had class with them or played basketball or handball with them. It took a couple of days for the reality to hit me. Then I found out that some of my friends had lost their parents. I was 18 and this was like a bad movie.
-Jim K

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

'Weeks and weeks of memorials'

I am also a native of Huntington, WV. I was 16 years old and a majorette at Huntington East High School. My memories are of weeks and weeks of memorials and funerals attended by the HEHS football team, majorettes and cheerleaders. Many of my friends lost parents and boyfriends on that night. I will be attending the premiere of "We Are Marshall" on December 12 with my entire family with many mixed emotions.
-Cheryl Wolford Cannizzaro

'God bless all those mourning'

I was not quite a year old when this tragedy occurred, but I had a personal connection to the incident as I worked with John Repasy, father of Jack, for about 7 years of my life. John, or J.R. as we called him, never talked much about the tragedy, but one particular day as I was mourning the loss of my best friend's sister, he sat down and talked to me and opened up about Jack. I remember my heart just aching for him as I saw so much raw pain still bubbling right under the surface. J.R. was a great man whom I loved dearly as a friend. I still miss him and think of him often. I can only imagine that Jack was an outstanding, special young man cut from the same cloth as his father. I visited with J.R. the night before he died in hospice and though he wasn't cognizant of visitors and his surroundings at that point and it was very difficult to see this once vibrant man in that situation, I was comforted to know that Jack would be right there at heaven's gates waiting for his dad and that J.R. would finally have peace on so many levels. God bless all those mourning and still wounded by this awful event. My prayers are with you all.

-Jill Branam

'I still remember'

I am a native of Huntington, WV. Several of my friends were players of on the 1970 MU Football Team. When I got news of the crash, the first person that came to my mind was a very special person Scotty. He always talked about his Grandmother and how much he loved her. I'll always miss him. My two brave friends, H. & R. lost their parents that night. I still remember the days at Huntington High and how this tragedy brought the students closer together. Hey ladies I still keep a special spot in my heart for the two of you. We'll talk soon.

'May God comfort'

I'm not from Huntington and attended Ohio University, but I'm a Marshall supporter and fan.

When this horrible event took place, I was five years old and have no recollection of the tragedy. Many years later, I saw the documentary on PBS,"From Ashes to Glory" and was moved by the way the community and university more or less banded together to emerge victorious and strong, quite like the fabled Phoenix. From that moment on, I became a Marshall fan.

If some other O.U. supporters or alumnae read this posting, they might not be happy about what I'm about to say, but it's how I feel.

Football is just a game to Ohio University. There's not the same connection with the community that M.U. has with Huntington.

It's been said countless times, but Marshall football is a tribute to those lost in the crash, the spirit of the university and community and the way both groups bonded together during the process of rebuilding and healing. May God comfort and bless those who lost friends or family members on that rainy November night.

-Ms Kelley Jarvis

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

'God bless the families'

I was 9 years old when I saw "fire" in the sky! My sister and I were taking a family member home on that rainy, foggy night in 1970. I had a feeling something bad was going to happen when we left home. As we topped Rt. 75 hill, I told my sister and my godmother that I saw fire in the sky. They told me it was probably lightening, not to worry so much.

When we pulled into my godmother's driveway and got out of the car, the entire sky was orange and we rushed back around the hill and saw the most horrifying scene of my life! We were the second witnesses on the scene. I will never forget that fateful night as long as I live. God bless the families who lost loved ones that tragic evening! My heart goes out to them.

-Shelley Ball

Monday, November 13, 2006

'Never forget'

I will never forget that night. I lived in Kenova and I had just came in from a date and was rolling my hair getting ready for church the next morning and I heard a crash and it shook our entire house. I was upstairs and my parents were downstairs and I ran downstairs asking what was that? Then came the news about what happened. I went to school with a lot of kids that were a volunteer at the fire department. It is very sad. I hope the movie that will be coming out stays true to the story and no Hollywood stuff.

-Kathy Caldwell Swaney

Sunday, November 12, 2006

'You remember exactly what you were doing'

Our family doctor and his wife were on the plane. Dr. and Mrs. Joe Chambers. I was in high school and remember what a cold and rainy night it was. I was watching TV when a news bulletin came on announcing the crash. Then our next door neighbor came over to tell us that Dr. Joe was on the plane. It is one of life's moments that you remember exactly what you were doing when you heard the news.

-Jill Taylor Songer-Virginia

Remembering 'that awful day'

I was 22 and remember that awful day. My work just took me to Huntington one week ago to televise a Marshall game, my heart still goes out to all of Marshall and Hunington community and I hope the movie We Are Marshall brings comfort and some joy.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

'Thoughts and prayers'

The first real crush I had as a middle school child was a boy named David O'Connor. We went to the same church in upstate New York and were good friends. He taught me to play "Stairway to Heaven" on the guitar. His sister, Ruth-Ann, was sweet and his Mom was always nice. A classic beauty with a quiet grace. I asked David where his father was one day and he told me that he had died in a plane crash with his school football team. I was only six when this crash occurred in Huntington and I lived in Rome, New York. As the movie is coming out, I browsed through the memorials. David and Ruth-Ann look so much like their father, it all clicked in my mind the instant I saw his photo ... Dr. Brian O' Connor. I do not remember the crash but the memory of my childhood friend David O' Connor and what a young man of integrity and politeness he was tells me much about his father I had never met. My thoughts and prayers are with David, Ruth-Ann, and Miss Katherine as my husband and I reflect on this movie and emotion it will stir.

--Holly Stone/McLeod RN

Columbia, MD

'My heart sank'

I worked for the travel agency in downtown when it flashed on the tv a plane down at the tri-state airport. I called the airport was told it is the charter. My heart sank. I knew so many on the flight, my good friend & Dr. Joe Chambers & his wife Peg. At that moment I didn't know their two daughters, who were cheerleaders for Marshall, were not on the plane till I called their home. There are so many more, a former co worker and her brother. I will never forget that night.

- Anonymous

Saturday, November 04, 2006

'I will never forget'

After losing a child myself a few years prior 1970, I will never forget the gut wrenching feeling I had when the breaking news flashed on the TV screen about the plane crash with Marshall's football team aboard.

I was in my 5th mo. of pragency with my 3rd. child I clinched my stomate so fercely from the news, I felt her kick for the first time but there was no joy in my heart, only pain I felt in my heart for the families left behind that would have to endure the pain of losing a child as I had done not so long ago.

-Mikey Mary Sherman Ironton Ohio