Quapaw Tornado Victim's Family Remembers Late Husband, Grandfather

Tuesday, April 29th 2014, 11:19 pm
By: News On 6

The tornado in Quapaw took the life of 68-year-old John Brown of Baxter Springs Kansas.

Janet Brown returned home from the hospital after being treated for minor injuries. She was in the car with John when the tornado hit. She spoke to me about those horrifying moments.

But the focus of the conversation quickly shifted, as she and her grandchildren spoke about just how special a man John was.

4/28/2014 Related Story: One Dead, Five Injured After Tornado Hits Quapaw

Just moments before the tornado tore through Quapaw Sunday, Janet and her husband headed through town on their way to lunch in Miami.

"As we got halfway through town, you could see debris and the closest place we could see was this spot between two buildings," Janet said.

Then, a side of one of those buildings began to collapse.

"John had come my way because he was gonna cover me up so I wouldn't get hurt and I couldn't get out," Janet said.

She said she finally did get out, frantically knocking on nearby buildings for help.

"One of the EMTs came over and helped me through it, I mean, to get out and I said, ‘I can't get my husband awake, I tried but he won't answer me,'" Janet said.

Inside his car Sunday, John Brown passed away.

"I didn't learn until later that he hadn't made it," Janet said. "So that was horrendous. But God watched out for me, and I know my husband is where he needs to be now."

Janet and her grandsons, David and Joseph, shared some family pictures Tuesday. John loved to fish, especially with David.

"He wanted to catch this carp that he always wanted to catch, so we would always try, but we never did," Joseph Tarvin said.

David shared with us his grandfather's passion for historical re-enactments and the costumes that went along with them.

Janet told us that John was also a trained storm spotter, but again, this tornado formed so quickly the sirens didn't even go off in time.

Janet also lived through the Joplin tornado receiving only minor injuries.