Dick retired in December of 2005 after working for the Dept of Natural Resources for 42 1/2 years in the wildlife section, most of the time in the Parkersburg, Iowa, area. Following retirement, he and his wife, Camilla, moved into Parkersburg.
On Sunday 25 May 2009 Dick and his wife returned from Minnesota to their home on the very southeast edge of Parkersburg shortly after the F5 tornado struck Parkersburg. Their home was just on the southern edge of the east to west path of the tornado. The high school, located about two blocks north of their home, was destroyed.
The Coys lost part of their home but they considered themselves lucky in that north of their home for eight blocks, every home was gone and this path of destruction continued from the west side of town to the east side.
Dick writes, “We were alone. Our sons were in the Canadian Boundary Waters and could not be reached even by cell phone. But, when the sun rose Monday morning, Dept of Natural Resource workers (fellow coworkers) arrived with hammers, wood, plastic and chainsaws to help. We cannot express the surge of relief we felt. They covered the broken windows, holes in the siding and resheeted the roof which saved our home from further damage by the following days of heavy rain. They cut down trees and moved debris. Relatives and other volunteers all pitched in to help clean up the mess. The town is growing back bigger and better.”
“My wife, Camilla, a RN, will be retiring this year (`09). We plan to spoil the grandchildren and do a little traveling.”
An F5 tornado has winds that exceed 205 mph, and somehow, it was determined that these winds did hit that category. It went through Parkersburg at about 6 PM as it cut a path 43 miles long, between 3/4 to 1 1/5 mile wide and killed 7 people, and injured 70. It destroyed an estimated 350 buildings in Parkersburg. It was the second deadliest tornado in Iowa since official records have been kept- 1950. It is reported this F5 tornado was the first F5 to strike Iowa since the 13 June 1976 Jordan Tornado. (Named after the Boone County Iowa town of Jordan.) Other careers are on pages 231-238, 307.
On June 13, Jurine Borton Moore and Dale Hughes were displaced by the flood, 3-miles south of Mt Vernon, Iowa, near the Cedar River, the site of the origin of the book , Milford Twp and Proud of It! Fortunately the computer chip for the book was high and dry, stored in a bank lock box. Two weeks later when they were allowed to return to this house, the entire structure had to be gutted. All the furnishing were destroyed as were most personal belongings including much of the original research and hard-copies for the book. The Milford Twp archives are now stored at the Historical Society in Ames, Iowa.
* June Bug in the Barn * An Ol' Milford dairyman told this and swears it happened: One evening a Milford farmer was milking his favorite cow when a June Bug flew into the barn and started flying around him and the cow. Suddenly the June Bug flew into the ear of the cow and disappeared. The farmer thought little of it until a few moments later when the bug squirted out into the milk bucket. It went in one ear and out da udder!
Written by Son Jerry Baldus
“Dad went to Loras College in Dubuque Iowa. He graduated in education with a specialty in sports and latin. As result his early career was spent coaching and teaching latin. He started his career in Tama, Iowa, as a coach of football. He met mom there and they were married a year and half later. Mom was from Toledo, Iowa, a small city next to Tama. After they were married Dad continued to work in Tama, Robert was born and Dad changed jobs and was hired at Buffalo Center as their head football coach, where Jerry was born.
“After 3 successful years at Buffalo Center where they beat their local rival Forest City, Dad again changed jobs and went to Forest City as their football coach. It was about this time that Mary Kay was born and our family was complete for this generation. After a short few years in Forest City Dad went to Battle Creek, Michigan, as head football coach. This was during the war. For some reason he was not inducted into the army so he coached football and as a second job worked at the local mill that made breakfast cereal.
“Dad came from a large family on a farm near Story City, Iowa. There were 12 brothers and sisters. Three of the brothers were in the army as was one of the sisters. One brother died early in the war, the other two remained in the army until the war was over. When the war ended Dad moved to Boone, Iowa, again as head football coach and, as everywhere else, Dad taught latin whenever possible and coached other miscellaneous sports programs like womens swimming in Boone. It was after 4 years in Boone coaching football that he began thinking of a change in his career and he interviewed with Milford for the superintendents job and was hired.
“Dad really enjoyed Milford. I think this was primarily due to the people in the community and to the kids in the school. Of all of Dads coaching or teaching jobs, I believe he enjoyed this job the most.
“We moved from Milford to Ames where Dad continued to develop his insurance business that he had started part time while at Milford. After awhile he purchased a small café to supplement his income while continuing to develop his insurance agency. After 3 years he sold the café and simultaneously studied for and received his real estate sales license. He added this to his insurance agency and he became a major player in insurance and real estate in Ames. He continued in this capacity until retiring a few years before his death. Dad died leaving mom to continue on for another ten years before passing away last year. (Edit; 2008) Survivors were Sons, Robert and Jerry, daughter Mary Kay, 12 grandchildren, and 25 great grandchildren.”
Edit: I was in the 5th and 6th grade when Mr Baldus was at Milford and I recall he had a concept that young men should learn to dance, with the girls, so the young men might learn some grace and timing and thereby become better athletes. I didn't know what I thought of that at the time --and I still don't.