Vetter remembering WSU plane crash today

By Rod Zook, Special to
October 02, 2015

 Chuck Vetter of McPherson says he can still remember Oct. 2, 1970, like it was yesterday. 

Vetter was at football practice when coaches told him he needed to go home. That’s when he found out his brother Jack was missing.

It will be 45 years ago today that a plane carrying Jack and other members of the WSU football team, along with coaches and boosters, crashed into the side of Mt. Trelease near Silver Plume, Colo. 

Today, Chuck is in Colorado, where he will make the short climb above I-70 at the Eisenhower Tunnel to pay tribute his brother and the rest of those who perished that day. The crash site still bears the wreckage of the plane to this day. While many who visit the crash site leave mementos and small tributes to those lost, Vetter says he won’t be taking anything special up the mountain with him, saying he just wants to spend some time up there. This will be the third time Vetter has been to the site.

The crash killed 31 people including 14 players, WSU AD Bert Katzenmeyer, Head Coach Ben Wilson, Dean of Admissions Carl Fahrbach and State Representative Raymond King of Hesston. As always, a service will be held today at the 1970 Memorial along Oliver Street on the WSU campus.


• Players •

Marvin Brown, 19, Solomon, sophomore tailback

Don Christian, 20, Duncan, Okla., junior defensive back

John Duren, 19, Oklahoma City, sophomore end

Ron Johnson, 21, Kansas City, Mo., senior safety

Randy Kiesau, 20, Clinton, Okla., junior defensive back

Mal Kimmel, 21, St. Genevieve, Mo., senior center

Carl Krueger, 19, Chicago, sophomore tackle

Steve Moore, 21, Derby, senior linebacker

Tom Owen, 20, Temple Terrace, Fla., junior running back

Gene Robinson, 21, Dayton, Ohio, junior end

Tom Shedden, 20, Oklahoma City, junior tackle

Richard Stines, 19, Kansas City, Kan., sophomore guard

John Taylor, 21, Sherman, Texas, senior cornerback

Jack Vetter, 21, McPherson, senior tackle

• WSU staff and boosters •

Bert Katzenmeyer, 52, Wichita, athletic director

Marian Katzenmeyer, 52, Wichita, wife of athletic director

Ben Wilson, 44, Wichita, football coach

Helen Wilson, 44, Wichita, wife of coach

Tom Reeves, 31, Wichita, team trainer

Marty Harrison, 19, Argonia, head manager

Carl Fahrbach, 50, Wichita, dean of admissions

Floyd Farmer, 35, Wichita, ticket manager

Ray Coleman, 45, Wichita, chairman of Shocker Club

Maxine Coleman, 43, Wichita, wife of chairman

John Grooms, 42, Wichita ,won membership drive

Etta Mae Grooms, 38, Wichita, won membership drive

Ray King, 48, Hesston, state representative

Yvonne King, 41, Hesston, wife of state representative

• Crew •

Dan Crocker, 27, Oklahoma City, pilot

Judy Lane, 28, Oklahoma City, flight attendant

Judy Dunn, 39, Oklahoma City, flight attendant