The Rapid City Public Library has recorded on film individuals who tell about their personal experiences of the events of June 9, 1972. If you would like to be interviewed, please see the Contribute page for more information.

You can select a specific interview to watch by clicking on the names listed below, or watch them all by clicking here.
Linda and Gary Anderson | Hiland Aughenbaugh | Vern Bauer | Pam Baumberger | Gregory Bishop | Stan Blum | Betty Bonawitz | Marilyn Borgensen | Darlyne Bower Kushman | Bill Boylan | Nancy Brady | Preston Brown | Joyce Cheadle | Charles Childs | Scott Christensen | Herb Cleveland | Laura Collins | Bert Corwin | Bill and Mary Cress | Gail Dedic | Michael Dennis | Millie Dieter | Theresa Dowling Braddock | JoAnn Emerson | Bonnie Fingerhut | Robin Fischer | Norma Jean Garcia | Kim and Barb Gary | Joan and Jack Getz | Kate Gordon | Melissa Haugan | Kevin Hayes | Mabel Heinemann | Pat Hoffman | William Hough | Murman Jensen | Darol Johnson | Margaret King | Margaret Kovarik | James Kuehn | David Lamb | Audrey Lang and Patricia Wright | Nancy Larson | Millie Laue | Min Lighter Quarnberg | Dr Charles Lindly | Monte Loos | Larry Lytle | Ron and Lavonne Masters | Arlene Mattis | Claire and Frankie Mayer | Jack McBride | Derald McElroy | Jim Menkins | Gary Misterek | David Moore | Terry Nelson | Frank Parker | | Donna Parks | Marjorie Pitts | Jerl Pringle | Rita Rosales | Steve Runholt | DelRita Schouten | Irene Sears | Jody Severson | Gary and Carole Sisson | Randy Stalcup | Delbert Stover | Teresa Sullivan | Ann Trask | Jane Udick Williams | Lon VanDeusen | Donald Wickler | Sandra Woodard | Paul Wounded Head | Don Wrede | Jerome Wright | Vesper Wright | Dawne Yates

Linda and Gary Anderson

Linda and Gary Anderson evacuated from trailer home that later floated away. They discuss aftermath of flood, including looting that took place.

Hiland Aughenbaugh

Hiland recounts his flood experiences as groundskeeper for the Sioux San hospital.

Vern Bauer

Vern Bauer was on duty as a patrolman with the Rapid City Police Department the night of the flood. His assignment was the west side of Rapid City.

Pam Baumberger

Pam's husband Dave was one of only two survivors that gathered together in the attic of a home in Jackson Park the evening of June 9. The nine included Dave, Dave's father Roland "Babe" Baumberger, Burton Millett, Sheila Heaton and the Sampsill family of five. Dave survived by crawling through a hole in the attic, clinging to a tree and swimming through Canyon Lake right when the dam broke. The other survivor in the group was one of the Sampsill children. He was 10 years old at the time.

Gregory Bishop

Gregory lost both his parents the evening of the Flood when they were hit by a wall of water on their way to work at Meadowood Bowling Lanes. He and his two younger brothers survived.

Stan Blum

Stan Blum supervised clean-up crews in the West Boulevard area and helped get 43 Black Hills area bridges rebuilt.

Betty Bonawitz

Betty worked at Erickson's Flower Box and recalls every morning day after day driving through flood debris to get to work. She arranged six to seven flower casket pieces a day as they were the only flower shop open for some time.

Marilyn Borgenson

Rapid City 1972 Flood Oral History - Marilyn Borgenson from Rapid City Public Library on Vimeo.

Marilyn evacuated her home in Dark Canyon the evening of the flood for a cabin they owned on higher ground. She discusses the clean up involved afterward and difficulties they experienced in trying to maintain their residence in Dark Canyon.

Bill Boylan

Bill volunteered to help the National Guard recover bodies of those who died in the flood.

Nancy Brady

Nancy Brady organized an emergency evacuation center in the basement of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.

Preston Brown

Preston Brown, Methodist Minister, was involved in the relief efforts of the 1972 Rapid City Flood.

Joyce Cheadle

Joyce lived with her husband, Jim, and their two children ages four and seven on Riverdale Drive. They spent the evening of June 9 in their vehicle after evacuating their home. The next day they walked to where their home was located only to find it gone. Joyce's four-year-old daughter played "flood" the entire summer and her son still suffers.

Charles Childs

As a County Probation Officer, Charles Childs was involved in the rescue efforts and put in charge of the Missing Person/ Body Identification process.

Scott Christensen

Scott was in Baken Park the evening of the Flood. He lost two high school classmates and the Texaco station where he worked washed away. Scott was recruited to search for survivors.

Herb Cleveland

Chief of Chaplains at Ft. Meade, Herb Cleveland used it as a staging area for flood victims and tells of flood and the community response to it.

Laura Collins

Laura was 13 when she and her family came to visit Mt. Rushmore while on vacation from Arcola, VA. It had been two weeks since the Flood and was a rainy cold week. A Park Ranger told them because of road closures it was 116 miles from Mt. Rushmore to Rapid City. They experienced a muddy two days of camping at the Ponderosa Campground before heading home.

Bert Corwin

Rapid City 1972 Flood Oral History - Bert Corwin from Rapid City Public Library on Vimeo.

Bert's father, stepmother, stepsister and stepgrandmother were forced to the attic of their home the evening of June 9 because of rising floor waters.
Bert's father was the only survivor.
Bill and Mary Cress

Mary & Bill Cress describe their experiences the night of the flood.

Gail Dedic

Rapid City 1972 Flood Oral History - Gail Dedic from Rapid City Public Library on Vimeo.

Gail was eight years old and living with her family on Thunderhead Falls Road the evening of the Flood. When the water came rushing in their basement the family was forced to take refuge on a hillside. They were able to return to their badly damaged home the next day, but remained on the missing list for two weeks as the National Guard could not reach them.
Michael Dennis

Michael was 18 the evening of the Flood when the 1962 Chevy panel truck he had just refurbished stalled in the fast moving water on Omaha Street. He and a group of others eventually made it to a roof where Michael describes the fires, buildings and debris rushing by him as "a wild and terrible view." Michael wrote about his experiences seven years ago which helped him tremendously in understanding the emotion involved when one experiences a traumatic event. He came back for the 40th anniversary to connect with others.

Millie Dieter

Millie, her husband, their three children and two young German music students they were hosting were stuck in the Flood while evacuating the Dieter home. They were swept in different directions leaving Millie and her eight year old daughter, Patricia, clinging to a fence. Millie was separated from her daughter and eventually rescued from a tree. She lost her husband, Lowell Dieter, and Patricia in the Flood. Her two other children and the two German music students survived.

Theresa Dowling Braddock

Rapid City 1972 Flood Oral History - Theresa Dowling Braddock from Rapid City Public Library on Vimeo.

Theresa was seven years old the evening of the Flood. She evacuated with her Mother to higher ground that evening. She remembers her Father being gone a lot that summer as he was working to repair telephone lines.

JoAnn Emerson

JoAnn, her Mother and Father and the Collins family of five spent the evening of the Flood on the roof of their business, Black Hills Egg Producers. Friday was normally a distribution day for the business and the coolers were full of thousands of dozens of eggs. The combination of broken eggs, mud and water provided a considerable challenge when cleaning up after the Flood. JoAnn credits the incredible help of the Rancher Cooperative who came in with stock trucks and wheelbarrows to assist. Because of their generosity, they were back in semi-operation six days after the Flood.

Robin Fischer

Robin Fischer worked for the United States Civil Service and was a National Guardsman. He spent the night of June 9th rescuing people stranded by the flood waters.

Norma Jean Garcia

Norma Jean, her Father, sister and brother lived behind Fischer Furniture in a mobile home park the evening of the Flood. They floated in their mobile home for four blocks before hitting a retaining wall followed by a vehicle crashing through the middle of the trailer. Norma Jean was one of 28 students at the time studying to be a nurse. She was immediately sent to the Air Force base where the students went to work helping victims of the Flood. Her friend Alvin Grass Rope danced this year in her honor at the Community Powwow recognizing the Flood of 1972.

Kim and Barb Gary

The Flood overtook their rented cabin. Kim was swept downstream - he recounts his efforts to return to the cabin and his wife.

Joan and Jack Getz

Jack Getz was a Rapid City Journal reporter; he and Joan, his wife, lived within a block of Rapid Creek.

Kate Gordon

As a teenager, Kate drove through an already evacuated Keystone to get to Mt. Rushmore where her family managed the national park's concessions. Water was up to the door handles of her car. She speaks of the countless graves being dug that summer and how painful it was having her bedroom window in Rapid City face the cemetery.

Melissa Haugan

Melissa was nine years old at the time of the flood and lived on Tepee Street.

Kevin Hayes

Kevin and his father helped others the evening of the Flood. Their family lost their two-story white home that evening. After numerous moves in various trailers they were finally able to settle again in a home in Rapid Valley where his mother still lives.

Darol Johnson

Darol's brother, Jamie Johnson, was visiting a friend below Canyon Lake the evening of the Flood. His family learned two days later that Jamie had died that evening. Darol who was 11 years old in 1972, moved with his mother, father and sister to San Diego, CA in November of 1972. The first time he came back to South Dakota was in 2012 for the 40th anniversary.

Margaret Kovarik

Margaret Kovarik, a retired nurse, shares her story of helping the DCI and managing incoming phone calls.

James Kuehn

James Kuehn, Vice President and Editor of the Rapid City Journal at the time of the flood in 1972, tells his story of that night and the efforts of the Rapid City Journal for the weeks following the tragedy.

Darlyne Bower Kushman

Darlyne lost her home in the Flood but her family survived. Despite their loss, they kept their sense of humor and even hung a For Rent sign outside her condemned home the days after the Flood. Darlyne married Cal Kushman who also lost his home and business in the Flood. They decided to make a new life in Mesa, AZ.

Audrey Lang and Patricia Wright

Audrey and Patricia were isolated by the flood in their home near the Cleghorn fish hatchery. They also discuss the flood's effect on Rapid City.

Nancy Larson

Nancy's grandmother lived in a small log cabin by Baken Park. The evening of the Flood she was evacuated by Nancy's brother-in-law, Joe. Her grandmother lost all of her belongings that evening and eventually relocated to Faith, South Dakota.

Millie Laue

Millie, her husband, sister and brother-in-law got stuck in the flood waters when their Jeep stalled. A student from South Dakota Mines and Technology got them in his station wagon. They then had to climb to the roof of the car and on to various roofs of floating homes until eventually the five of them spent the evening in an attic.

Monte Loos

Monte was the KOTA Production Manager at the time of the flood. He offers an insider's view to the challenges in reporting the evening of the flood and the days following. He also shares personal memories of that night.

Larry Lytle

Dr. Lytle was president of the city council at the time of the Flood. He was alderman for Ward 3 which received major devastation and suffered many casualties. Mr. Lytle aided in setting up a reconnaissance center at the Meadowbrook School and through his dentistry business was able to identify victims from dental records.

Ron and Lavonne Masters

Their flood story is one of life-changing loss. They have traveled the world to help others cope with grief & loss.

Arlene Mattis

Arlene spent the evening of the Flood hopping from floating roof to floating roof with her husband, sister and brother-in-law before finally spending the evening in an attic. She remembers calling out for help the entire night.

Claire and Frankie Mayer

An evening of entertainment by Canyon Lake became an evening of terror. Claire and Frankie helped with radio communications.

Jack McBride

Jack McBride volunteered manning the phones at the State Radio during the Flood.

Derald McElroy

The day after the Flood, Derald and a neighbor launched Derald's boat in Box Elder Creek and were able to rescue a 12-year-old boy that had been clinging to a tree the entire evening. They also found five people stranded on the roof of a house and were able to get them in the boat and to safety.
Jim Menkins

Jim moved with his wife and two young children to Rapid City one week before the Flood. The family had always wanted to live by a creek and searched for three days but could not find anything for sale. They are not sure why they finally settled and purchased the home they did as they didn't particularly like it, but a week later were fortunate and grateful they had.

Gary Misterek

Gary describes the Flood as being a spiritual event. The evening of the Flood he was in his VW car with the turn signal blinking left to go to Charlie Browns in Baken Park. For some reason he turned off the signal and decided to try to make it home instead. Not five minutes after leaving that area, Charlie Browns was completely wiped out by the raging water taking 16 lives with the building.

Terry Nelson

Terry lived on St. Cloud Street with his wife the evening of the Flood. They did not know anything had happened until the next day upon driving to his best friend's wedding. He was to be his best man could not get to the wedding due to streets being closed and debris everywhere. He spent many days after that assisting with the cleanup at his job in Sioux Park at a gas station.

Donna Parks

Donna was the bookmobile librarian and working at the library the day of the Flood. She remembers walking outside with Helen Hoyt and them both commenting on the black sky to the West. Her son who had just returned from Vietnam helped with the recovery effort.

Marjorie Pitts

Marjorie was born and raised in the Mennonite community in Eastern South Dakota. She was living in the Black Hills the evening of the Flood. Her cousin was the South Dakota Mennonite Disaster Director. A disaster relief headquarters was set up by the Mennonites in the Catholic School in Rapid City. Marjorie, her husband and older children helped for weeks at the school with the flood relief effort.

Jerl Pringle

Jerl's girlfriend, now wife, lost many items in the flood. Having been in both the Deadwood fire and the Rapid City flood they have since decided they are fine living in town near a fire hydrant and away from water.

Rita Rosales

Rita Rosales talks about her experiences in downtown Rapid City the evening of the flood.

Steve Runholt

Steve was 11 years old the evening of the Flood living on Sheridan Lake Road at the backside of Storybook Island. He and his father were stuck in their home by rising flood waters. His father saved his life after a car plowed through the floor of the home pinning Steve between a refrigerator and the roof. Steve's father and Steve eventually made it through the Flood by clinging to trees and calling for help. They could hear Millie Dieter, who lost her husband and daughter in the Flood, calling for help as well. They were all eventually taken in a boat by rescue workers to safety.

DelRita Schouten

DelRita Schouten had lost her home and everything inside it to the flood. She now lives on a hill.

Irene Sears

Irene's friend Anna lived by the packing company. Anna was rescued from the waters by firefighters only because they could see her white coat in the darkness of the night. She had just purchased the coat a few weeks before at Kmart. Irene searched and searched for Anna the next day and finally found her asleep in the corner of an auditorium only because she spotted her white coat.

Jody Severson

Jody Severson arrived in Rapid City Wednesday after the Flood and stayed the summer as staff aide to then U.S. Congressman, Jim Abourezk. Jody was 23 at the time and instrumental in laying the groundwork for the Urban Renewal Project and put together the provisions that rebuilt the Rapid City Floodway. As part of the Urban Renewal Project, Jody assisted in providing relocation payments and small business loans to flood survivors.

Gary and Carole Sisson

Rapid City 1972 Flood Oral History - Gary and Carole Sisson from Rapid City Public Library on Vimeo.

Gary and Carole Sisson were out to dinner with friends when they cut their evening short to return home where their children were with a babysitter. Unable to cross the high water, they had to wait until the next day to reconnect with family.
Randy Stalcup

Randy, his mother and five siblings lived on Janet Street the evening of the Flood. They had to evacuate their home as the basement filled with water to the main level. Randy helped his Mom with the cleanup. He recalls mud up to his knees.

Delbert Stover

Rapid City 1972 Flood Oral History - Delbert Stover from Rapid City Public Library on Vimeo.

"The whole night was horrifying," is how Delbert describes the evening of the Flood. He helped rescue others, including using a wheelbarrow to save his Grandfather from the rushing waters in Dark Canyon. Delbert's family lost everything, but he was able to save the vehicles from his business, Black Hills Transit. Dairy products from one of these vehicles helped sustain him and others for days before help arrived in the Canyon.

Teresa Sullivan

Rapid City 1972 Flood Oral History - Teresa Sullivan from Rapid City Public Library on Vimeo.

Teresa worked for the telephone company as an operator in 1972. The evening of the Flood she was working the 3-11 p.m. shift. Telephone lines were down and all calls had to be routed through an operator, including death notification calls. Teresa was one of many operators who worked 12-hour shifts in order for survivors to stay connected with their loved ones.

Ann Trask

Ann was in Piedmont the evening of the Flood. When she tried to drive back from Rapid City the bridge at Deadwood Avenue collapsed. She remained stranded in Black Hawk for two days until her father was able to come and get her.

Lon VanDeusen

A college student at the time of the flood, Lon VanDeusen talks about his experiences the night of the flood as well as the days following the flood.

Donald Wickler

Donald was visiting a fellow retired military friend at his home near Meadowbrook Golf Course the evening of the Flood. He and his friend were in the basement trying to keep things from getting wet when their wives called from upstairs and said, "The cars are floating away." They had just gone upstairs when the concrete wall in the basement collapsed. Donald knows he was minutes from being swept away in the Flood and is grateful for every day of his life.

Jane Udick Williams

Rapid City 1972 Flood Oral History - Jane Udick Williams from Rapid City Public Library on Vimeo.

Jane worked side by side with her mother to clean the hands, feet and faces of flood victims in order for family members to identify their loved ones. Her aunt and uncle owned the Keystone Post Office which was flood damaged. Jane helped them with the cleanup.

Sandra Woodard

Sandra and her husband set up camp leaving his Indian motorcycle and gear below Victoria Lake the evening before the Flood. Four of their friends stayed at the campsite however and were forced to climb to the top of a hill, clinging to trees in order to save themselves. Sandra's husband found his motorcycle two weeks later wrapped around a tree five miles downriver from their campsite. Sandra also speaks about the Community Powwow recognizing the Flood of 1972.

Paul Wounded Head

Paul and his sister waded the waters together the night of the flood.

Don Wrede

Don was 16 the night of the Flood. His family's mobile home park lost 30-40 trailers that evening. His father was in Canada and knew nothing of the Flood or his ruined business until a float plane landed at the lake in Canada where he was fishing and informed him of the devastation he would soon see at home.

Jerome Wright

Jerome Wright was instrumental in a number of rescues, including a mother and baby, and also volunteered for weeks after the flood.

Vesper Wright

Rapid City 1972 Flood Oral History - Vesper Wright from Rapid City Public Library on Vimeo.

Vesper's mobile home was destroyed by flood waters the night of June 9. Forty years after the disaster, her class ring was returned to her by a member of the salvage team who had found the ring during the clean-up efforts and spent four decades trying to track her down.
Dawne Yates

Rapid City 1972 Flood Oral History - Dawne Yates from Rapid City Public Library on Vimeo.

Dawne recounts her memories of her father who was involved in the rescue efforts.

Pat Hoffman

Pat Hoffman describes her experience living in Keystone at the time of the flood.

Murman Jensen

Murman Jensen talks about the role her husband, Lionel Jensen, played in the relief effort of the 1972 flood.

Margaret King

Margaret King discusses the devastation of the flood in the area near Meadowbrook Golf Course - including its impact on family, visitors & neighbors.

Min Lighter Quarnberg

Mrs. Quarnberg (105) and daughters Jane Nieland and Lynn Payne describe the night of the flood.

Mabel Heinemann

Mabel owned Dick's Drive-In, located on Canyon Lake Drive, near Canyon Lake Dam which failed during the flood.

Frank Parker

Mr. Parker was owner/operator of Marv's Wrecker Service in Rapid City and was personally involved in several rescues.

David Moore

David Moore returned to Rapid City after the flood to help his parents and was involved in post-flood rebuilding efforts.

Dr. Charles Lindly

Dr. Lindly shares his views as Superintendent of Schools at the time, and Chairman of the Salvation Army Advisory Board.

William Hough

William Hough tells his story of escaping the flood waters with his five year-old son and how the events of June 9 have stayed with his family.

David Lamb

David spent the evening of June 9 at the Harney Peak Ranch in Rapid Valley.

Bonnie Fingerhut

Bonnie Fingerhut shares her experiences working as a nurse in the aftermath of the Flood.