Tracy, MN Tornado Causes Death And Damage, June 1968

Tracy MN Tornado



Tracy, Minn. (AP) -- A tornado smashed through this southwest Minnesota town Thursday night leaving at least 13 dead and 11 critically injured.
Red Cross officials on the scene said 16 other persons were hospitalized and at least 60 homes were destroyed by the twister. Many persons were still missing and feared dead as rescue operations continued today.
Seven bodies were recovered in the dark hours following the powerful twister, and three were discovered this morning as National Guardsmen and Civil Defense workers began search and cleanup operations.
The bodies found after daybreak included that of a man found near town in an open field, near his car, and two persons in another vehicle.
Some of the demolished homes, nearly half the dwellings in the community, had vanished except for their concrete front steps and foundations. Some homes had plumbing intact, but little else. Two boxcars lifted from railroad tracks had blown over the rooftops and smashed down three blocks away in the area of destruction, so cluttered it resembled a large junkyard.
Streets were bulldozed of debris, to permit workmen to get through. Tracy's mayor ordered the town sealed off from sightseers, with entry permits granted to persons with valid reasons to be in Tracy.
The Tracy hospital said 72 persons were admitted and 22 remained overnight. Eleven were listed in critical condition.
The twister, powered two miles through this town of 2,800 in Minnesota's southwestern farmland. It ravaged a block-and-a-half wide path, then skirted into the countryside, clawing an occasional farm building before it dissipated five miles out of town.
Tracy was without electric power, water and phone service for serveral hours. The hospital was operating on emergencey generators.
Water was brought by tank trucks from nearby Marshall and Slayton.
The death toll would probably have gone much higher if the town hadn't been warned by a farmer, who telephoned the volunteer fire department as the twister approached eight miles to the southwest. The town siren wailed in the early, eerie dusk.
Fire Chief BERNARD HOLM said, "This saved many, many lives." The farmer had phoned his alert at 6:55 p.m., seven minutes before the hospital clocks stopped, denoting power circuits were broken.
HOLM saw his greenhouse across the street collapse at the twister's edge, then he ducked into his basement. His house had very little damage.
Gov. HAROLD LaVANDER ordered 150 National Guard troops from Tracy and Marshall to assist and secure the area. He also directed the state Highway Department to bring in portable electric generators.

Chillicothe Constitution Tribune Missouri 1968-06-14


Tracy Tornado Memory

I am one of Ellen Morgan grandsons (cousin to Cheryl Rae who also comment here). I was eight at the time of the tornado, but remember - following the funeral of my grandmother, my parents stopping at a home to visit the parents of an old friend. (I do not know their names). They shared that, when the sirens sounded the woman went to the basement, but her husband wanted to finish watching Lassie and stayed in the living room. A moment later a concrete brick shot through an exterior wall, passing between the man and the television, and lodged itself in the far opposite wall (it was still there and I was fascinated by it). He related that, he then thought it would be best to go to the basement. The rest of their house was undamaged.

I am sure there are many photos, so describing the look of the town is unnecessary. I especially remember seeing children's toys and particularly a teddy bear in the rubble. I also remember being impressed by the houses that were untouched including my grandmothers, (I've been told she was visiting a friend at the time of the tornado).

names of those who were killed

I the names of those who died: Nancy Vlahos, 2; Walter Swanson, 47; Ella Haney, 84; Mildred Harden, 75; Ellen Morgan, 75; Otelia Werner, 75; Fred Pilatus, 71; Paul Swanson, 60; and Barbara Holbrook, 50.

For more info you may want to connect with this gal......

I m looking for a list of

I m looking for a list of dead or injured in tornado at Tracy mn or around there. Can you give me suggestions of where to look. I am looking for Mary Margaret, Katherine, Elisabeth, or Doris - Dorothy possible Fehring and a Meyer at birth.


Tracy Tornado

Please email me at
I dont know if you are from Tracy or not, but, I know alot of people in Tracy yet, who might be able to help you with finding the woman you are looking for.

Tracy Tornado

My Grandmother Ellen Morgan was one of those who lost her life in the tornado, I do have some newspaper articles my father had saved regarding the destruction. What I remembered most being there for her funeral was the houses so pitted with mud, and one house seemed just cut in half and yet there in the open bathroom the towels were hanging on the towel bar and everthing was just like nothing had happened.
There was a young woman with my Grandma when she was struck unfortunaely I don't have her name with me as I write but if someone who lived there is able to help me find her I would appreciate it and would like to communicate with them.