POINT PLEASANT — As the 45th anniversary of the Silver Bridge Disaster approaches on Dec. 15, the Point Pleasant River Museum is assembling its special remembrance event though there are some missing pieces only the public can provide.
The event is planned to honor the 46 people who lost their lives when the bridge collapsed in 1967. The remembrance will include a reading of the names of the victims as well as a candle lit in their memory as a Power Point presentation will project their photo. However, the museum has not been able to gather photos of all the victims. Due to circumstances like families moving away from the area or simply the passage of time, these photos, and any remembrances of some of these victims, are becoming harder and harder to track down.
According to Ruth Fout of the river museum, the following are the victims which the museum has no photos of for the service - E. Albert “Bert” Adler, Julius Oliver “JO” Bennett, Leo H. Blackman, Marjorie S. Boggs, Kristye Ann Boggs, Hilda Gertrude Byus, Kimberly Lynn Byus, Harold D. Cundiff, Forrest Raymond Higley, Marvin L. Wamsley, Thomas Howard “Bus” Lee, Gene Harold Mabe, James Richard Maxwell, Darlene K. Mayes, Gerald McManus, Ronnie Gene Moore, Maxine Ellen Sturgeon, Denzil Taylor, Glenna Mae Taylor, William Victor “Vic” Turner, Maxine Rose Turner.
If anyone has a photo or knows of a family member of those listed, contact the river museum at 304-674-0144.
The actual remembrance event will take place at 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 15 at the museum which will offer free admission that day.
According to Fout, the program will begin with a welcome by Director Jack Fowler followed by a song by Denise Bonecutter. Rev. Roger Bonecutter, who piloted a City Ice and Fuel boat after the bridge collapse, will be giving the invocation and also speaking.
Retired Trooper Rudy O’Dell who was the first law enforcement officer to the scene on the West Virginia side will be introduced and available to speak with attendees and answer questions after the program. Also attending will be Jim Naegal who was in the U.S. Coast Guard at the time and worked on the Oleander boat during the recovery. Naegal will be available to speak with those who have questions after the program.
Professor Stephan Bullard and Bridget Gromek of West Hartford, Conn. and Martha and Ruth Fout of the Point Pleasant River Museum, co-authors of the new book “The Silver Bridge Disaster of 1967” will be introduced and Bullard and Gromek will tell how the book which was released on Oct. 1 of this year and went for re-print within the first month it came to be published.
Mayor Brian Billings and Alice Williamson Click will read the names of the victims and, as mentioned above, a candle will be lit in memory of each person as a power point presentation showing their picture is displayed.
Refreshments will be served after the remembrance and the new local book, “The Silver Bridge Disaster of 1967” which is always available in the river museum gift shop will be available to purchase and be signed by all authors.