Keokuk, IA Armory Explosion, Nov 1965

The Daily Gate City
Friday, Dec. 31, 1965
By Joe Malkin

National Guard Explosion Keokuk's greatest tragedy

The explosion that ripped apart the Keokuk National Guard Armory on Nov. 24, 1965, killing 21 persons and injuring scores of others, went down in history as the biggest story of the year in Iowa; but to the people in the Keokuk area, this is no solace for the grief and loss of their loved ones, and for the years ahead to be faced by those whose scars are more than superficial.

12 in Hospital

As 1965 draws to a close, 12 of more than 60 victims of that fatal explosion which occurred during a Thanksgiving eve square dance at the armory, remained in hospitals. Three of them are in Graham hospital.

They are Mr. and Mrs. Richard Thompson of Keokuk and Mrs. John Foley of Keokuk. John Foley is at University Hospitals in Iowa City.

At St. Joseph hospital, there are still two victims of the blast, Chester Starr and Ray Summers, both of Keokuk. Mrs. Nola Bennett is still hospitalized at St. Mary's hospital in Quincy.

Five in Texas

Five persons are still hospitalized at Brooke General hospital in San Antonio, Texas. They are Don Hoambrecker, Robert Anderson, Jay Joy, Richard Davis and Herman Smith, all of Keokuk.

The death list

Here is a list of those who died as a result of injuries or burns in the explosion:
Mrs. Ray Summers, Rt. 2, Keokuk, Nov. 24
Bill Bennett, Keokuk, Nov. 24
Mrs. Louis Besser, Keokuk, Nov. 24
Mrs. Leonard Bryant, Rt. 2, Keokuk, Nov. 24
Mrs. Leo May, Keokuk, Nov. 24
Mrs. Carl Goodrich, Carthage, Nov. 24
Tony Bennett, 6, Keokuk, Nov. 25
Mrs. Richard Davis, Keokuk, Nov. 26
Carl Goodrich, Carthage, Nov. 27
Mrs. Chester Starr, Keokuk, Nov. 27
Mrs. Ray Beckett, Argyle, Nov. 28
Leo May, Keokuk, Nov. 30
Mrs. Don Hoambrecker, Keokuk, Dec. 1
Ray Beckett, Argyle, Dec. 2
Randall Thompson, 12, Keokuk, Dec. 3
Mrs. Robert Anderson, Keokuk, Dec. 3
Mrs. Ivan Pilkington, Nauvoo, Dec. 6
Mrs. Jay Joy, Keokuk, Dec. 10
Louis Besser, Keokuk, Dec. 13
Mrs. Robert Harnetiaux, Hamilton, Dec. 20
Mrs. Herman Smith, Keokuk, Dec. 20