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January 23, 2008


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I was in college in 1978 ... was a surprise that sent school buses to take us back home early that day ... and being a child, we made the best of him ... at the time had a lot of elderly neighbors on my street and every day we check on them and walk to the grocery store (three miles) with our sleds to get something you need ... I will never forget ...

Brian Laypoole

so are these posts ever gonna make it into the magazine or what?

Round and Brown

while a bunch of us were waiting for the bus. A few minutes later came an ambulance. We found out later that the Jeep slid off the road & hit a tree. The wreckage was still there when our bus went by. Moments after the ambulance left with the driver of the

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My grandmother usually read about the snow storm and she told me it was an awful situation. Many people was terrified when the president Carter declared states of emergency for Ohiao, Michigan.

Melanie McCaskey

I am currently going through a blizzard in Stephens City, Virginia about an hour outside of Washington D.C. It brings back memories of growing up in Findlay, Ohio and going through the blizzard of 1978. I was seven years old at the time. I remember not having heat and huddling with my three sisters around our wood burning fireplace. We lived on North Ridge Road. We needed food and I remember my Dad walking across I-75 to Great Scot on Broad Ave. I believe. I also remember going with my Dad to help a friend of his dig out of his ranch house that was completely covered in snow. They lived over by Shady Grove. Can't believe I am witness to two blizzards in my lifetime.

Brian Laypoole

I remember I was 8 years old at the time. I remember my parents leaving me at home to walk together to the neighborhood grocery store at the time it was dennisons market. I remember watching them walking up the ally waist high in snow to get food. I was watching cartoons I think. And they came home about 2 hours later (The store was only 2 blocks away) Man what an adventure.

Debbie (Ludwig) Shaw

I was 18 when the Blizzard of 1978 hit, I lived with my folks on old Hwy 23 and Bethleham Road. We lived a couple miles outside Waldo, Ohio. We were very fortunate because we didn't lose power. Our phone was out for 3 or 4 days. I worked at Marion General Hospital as a Keypunch operator and couldn't go into work. One of my Uncle's came out and picked me up to go into Marion to buy groceries. I had a list of what to buy from my mom and everything in the grocery store was completely picked over. The grocery store was at the point of limiting what people bought. It was almost as bad with the Blizzard of 1977. I drove an old 1965 Bonneville station wagon, and it had a crack in the back window where it would go all the way up except for about a 1/2 inch, the wind blew so hard when we could get outside and looked at it, it had snow packed all the way to the dash. The Waldo garage came and towed it out about a week or so later and kept it inside their heated garage to let it dry out. My dad had a boat and camper and we could walk all the way over the top of them parked next to the barn. My folks had an Old Englis Springer Spaniel tied out by our barn and we finally were able to go get him and bring him in. He was one happy dog to be inside where it was warm. We had a guy stay with us that had been stranded on 423 going to Columbus. We watched the movie Roots!

Barbara Lambert

I remember waking up and knew we had to get ready to pick our son up at the sitters in the country in McComb, but when I looked outside I knew something was wrong. It was very early in the morning the snow was falling and I turned on the radio to find out we weren't going anywhere. My son was about 5 months old, the sitter and her family lived in an old farm house in the country. We found out later that just herself and her kids were there. Her husband was stranded at work in Findlay. The radiators in the house blew, the windows blew also because the gusts were so strong. So she took all the mattresses off the beds and lined the floor and walls with them in one small bedroom upstairs ( a middle bedroom) and all the blankets and stayed there with the kids. I can't remember how she contacted someone to come and get her and the kids out, but I do know it was my sons first snow mobile ride and with the National Guard driving, they were moved to her sisters house not too far away. We couldn't pick him up for a week because the drifts were so high. I'll never forget that.
I know we didn't fare too badly in town, all things considered. We had a gas stove and could cook and get heat from it and the upstairs neighbor came down and got warm and ate too. I smoked cigarettes then and I suppose that was the worse part. I couldn't get to the store..oh well. A few days later we walked to some friends house and it was amazing to see everything halted. About a year later we moved to Florida and have been here ever since. Since that time I have been through bad storms and Hurricane Charlie and the others that followed and if I had a choice I'd rather have the blizzard any day knowing I'd be prepared of course. Gas stoves and LL Bean .

Jim Wood

When the Blizzard of 78 hit, I was a carefree 19 year old college student living with my parents in Port Clinton. The snow and drifting shut down most of Port Clinton for most of the week, so... it was a week long party with no school and no work!!

A day or so after the blizzard, several of my friends showed up at my door in snowmobile outfits. We decided it would be cool to go out and look at the effects of the snow. On foot, we took off on our adventure. At the end of my street, low and behold, The Avalon bar was open! We stopped in and picked up a twelve pack to go. As we walked down the middle of the deserted streets we helped numerous people push their cars out, drinking our twelve pack on the way. Eventually, the cold got to the beer, and we had to resort to cutting the tops off the cans and scooping the beer slush out with our hands. Coldest beer I ever had!

A day or so later, we walked to a friend's house and decided we would head out in his Pinto to see how far we could go! There were four of us, and we would barrel down a city street as far as we could until we hit a pile of plowed snow or a snow drift and get stuck. Three of us would jump out of the car and we would spin the Pinto around to face the other direction, jump back in the car, and head off until we got stuck again!

I know the Blizzard of 78 was a hardship for many people in Northwest Ohio, but for myself and a group of my friends, it was one of the best times I can remember!

Tony Luzader

I lived in Findlay at this time when the blizzard hit. I CAN remember having to get out of our house on Garfeild ave.thru our parents second story bedroom window the difts were piled that high against our house.My brother Randy and I had to slid down to the street that was buiried under about 5-6 feet on snow.It wass always fun to play in the snow then.I now live Hudson Fl.working for the county as 911 operator. My hearts are with all who was flooded again,down here we're fighting Insurance rates,Taxes,voting problems-ha-ha.Ido miss the snow but not as much as to shuvel it every day again.And most of all I miss my family all who are still in Findlay!!!! Don,Kay,Kalene,Randy all all their children!! all who remmember me can email me at we3dogs@hotmail.com class of '81
God Bless'

Jan Grubb

This is what my daughter Jodi Insley, who was 5 at the time remembers about the blizzard. We lived out in the country in McComb at the time. "I remember staying in the dining room and the 4 of us sleeping in the 2 zipped-together sleeping bags to stay warm. I remember heating coffee and soup over the camp stove that we had. I remember Fenstermakers trying to come get us, but the big green truck got stuck in the drifts, so Chris and I got bundled in snowsuits, hats, mittens, and scarves until we couldn’t see, plunked on a sled, and dad and some other guys pulling us over to the next door neighbor’s where we warmed up before their fire, before going over to Fenstermakers. I remember their house being full of families because it was them, us, and the people from the pig farm and their tons of kids, so we had a lot of fun playing together and probably driving y’all nuts. I remember making a snow cave, afterwards, from a drift that was near the house. Hollowed out the side of it and played in there with Christie."

LuAnn Harden

I lived on Rt 186 in McComb and remember the Blizzard of '78' very well. It was my 20th birthday on January 26 of 78 and my dad was working the night shift in Ottawa, and was home alone. It was warm the previous day and then heard the wind pick up and howling. I was upstairs at the time. Someone was pounding on the door for help. There was this man all covered in snow who was stranded in his car and barely made it to the house. I left him in. The temperature in the house started dropping and was below freezing. The phone was working as my sister from Houston kept calling to see if I was Ok. We had no fireplace, so nothing to keep us warm at all. I had on my long johns, warm clothes, my coat, mittens, and hat in the house.

The snow was piled to the top of the house and had to force the back door open, to try to walk to the neighbors house to get warm. I pack up the dog in blankets over my back and walked the snow drifts that were to the top of the telephone poles. It was only about a 5 minute walk on a normal day and took a little over 45 minutes.

Finally after a few days my dad was able to get home to find all the pipes in the house had frozen. It was a terrible experience, but now live in Houston.

McComb did publish a book called "The Blizzard of 78" and I have a copy of that book, and look through it frequently remembering that aweful day. It was yellow bound and had many stories of families in the McComb area.

LuAnn Harden

Chuck Scanland

From an Interstate Brands Corp. (Cincinnati) letter dated Feb. 3, 1978:

"Dear Mr. Scanland:

"Reports from our two transport divers, Joe Wagner and Bob Crowder, tell us how in last week's blizzard and aftermath, you saved their lives. They tell how they waited thirty-one hours with their truck on I-75 near Findlay, unable to move on the glazed and icy highway and were nearly buried by the blowing, drifting snow. It was yourself and Bob Fleming who found them and carried them to the Emergency Center at Findlay Airport.

"They were so glad to be rescued! They asked us to thank you for them. There are times like this when a simple thanks seems so inadequate, but we join with them in expressing our gratitude for what you did for them and ultimately for our Company. There must be a way but we are at a loss as to how to repay such service. Perhaps by contacting us sometime at your convenience we might be able to repay the favor.

"Once again our sincerest expression of gratitude for what you did and may God reward your rescue efforts.

"Very truly yours, W. Lee Hays, Plant General Manager"

Submitted by Chuck Scanland of Findlay

Jack Moyer

Living on a dairy farm during the Blizzard of '78, I recall the ominous weather forecasts the night before. After milking, and heading back toward the house that evening, temps in the low 40's, I saw heavy fog, and it was blowing. I had never seen blowing fog before. This would be the precursor to one of the lowest barometric pressure systems ever recorded in the region.

At around 6 am the morning of the 26th (Thursday if I recall)the power failed. We couild not see the barn from the house, just white. Dad and I bundled up, locked arms and started walking toward the barns which we could not see. We literally had to bump into them. It was bizarre to 'get lost' on a trek from the house to the barns, a short walk we had both made thousands of times before.

We managed to open up one of the barn doors and saw the horses in their stalls and the cows in the covered barnyard coated with 3 or 4 inches of snow that had blown in. The animals didn't seem to care much. We had plenty of hay, but with no power, water became a concern. And with no power, no milking machines. Dad and I set about to milking 35 cows by hand which was ardous enough, but even more painful was that we had to just dump the milk.
Like many others, we listened to the radio at the top of every hour for five minutes for updates.
Dad and I went down to the basement of the house later in the day, and managed to loosen a fitting on the fuel oil system inside the furnace, and get a small fire going in the furnace firebox. There was no pow er for the fan, but a little heat could find its way up through the registers on the first floor. Others in the house (my mother, my little sister, and several stranded motorists)huddled around these registers and could at least get relatively comfortable. Dad and I stayed in the basement to monitor the fire by flashlight and candlelight. Very late in the night, the lights flickered back on, but only for a few seconds. We had some hope! As I recall, they flickered several more times over the next few minutes, before finally coming back on for good. We had been without power for about 18 hours.

In the ensuing days, the roads just were not passable. Even though we lived on a state highway, it was the Marion Township snowplow that busted out our driveway. They had just gotten a new plowtruck, and had the tire chains on and a load of stone that made it nearly unstoppable. They were going from dairy farm to dairy farm to get the milk supply moving again.
Later, Dad and I literally dug one of tractors out of the machinery shed pulled it out onto SR 568 and started shoving snow towards the west. I could see the Army Engineers working their way east towards us. About the same time, I recall seeing Army Huey helicopters hopping from farmstead to farmstead, to see if there were signs of activity. They flew over our house, I waved, they went on and landed at a house across the fields. That house was empty, the residents wisely spending their winter in Florida, but the chopper landed, the crewman went to the house to see if it was occupied, and seeing the place empty, returned to his ship to check the next farmstead.

Like everyone else who lived it, we survived but we will always remember.

Just months ago, we went through the worst flood in the city's history, and I saw the same spirit in '78
that I just saw in August, that of grim determination to survive this thing, an attitude of 'neighbor helping neighbor'and the realization, through consequent events, of proof that the worst of times can bring out the best in people.

Terri Line

We lived on Co. Rd. 26. I remember bringing in our litter of puppies in the house to keep my son and I warm, it worked for a while. Then we went to our neighbors, the Reinkings. They had a shed with a wood burning stove. We cooked on the wood burner...CHILI of all things, well we did keep warm.

My husband at the time, and Jonny Reinking took the snowmobiles to a neighbors house, they had a 6 week old baby. He put the baby inside of his suite, took the mother and baby to St. Rt 68 where they were picked up by a rescue team. After that the snowmobiles froze up. Then my son my went through a window in the shed and was in need of help...so we thought. He was fine, thank "GOD" to his heavy hat!! Then I needed insulin, the Arlington fire department got it to me, thanks to Bobby Dean Elsea and his team!!!

We also had sows having babies in the farrowing house. We did manage to save them with a kerosene heater.

This is what COUNTRY FOLKS do....look out after one another!!!!


Two special blizzard stories have been posted "At the Fencepost":

Log of Love: http://thecourier.typepad.com/fencepost/log-of-love.html

Blizzard Diary: http://thecourier.typepad.com/fencepost/blizzard-diary.html

Also on www.thecourier.com you can find links to various TV and radio specials, as well as links to other Ohio blizzard sites.


Thanks to girl scout training and Army military training, we knew what had to be done, when the Blizzard came. Both our car & van were frozen up to the rims in ice, the snow blocked the front & back doors of our ALL ELECTRIC NEW HOME. All we had were 11 dinner candles, to keep us warm. The two of us,and 3rd grader & kindergartener, went to one room, with three layers of clothing, hats, boots, & gloves.We stayed that way for two days before we were rescueed by snowmobliler & taken to neighbors for three more days. Temperature in house was 25-30 degrees. Burning the candles & taking turns to keep watch,we ate bologna & cereal. Couldn't get a cup of coffee warm, with a candle, & tin can turn upside down to make stove.I had a battery radio, & listened to Mike McKictick who kept me calm, by saying we're going to get thru this!WFIN was on air!We had no lights, power, or phone, no c.b.We put a garbage bag in the toilet, along with anti freeze,to keep pipes from bursting. We lived 45minutes north of Findlay on Bays Rd.Wood County.Which was hardest hit. We were relieved when the Army Engineers pay loader came & opened up our road, so we could get back home, after spending three days, with all the neighbors in one house that had electric. We fixed sausgages & put them in thermos bottles to take to the neighbors that wouldn't leave their home. We all shared our food, from house to house by snow mobile.We witnessed the search for a Twp. Trustee, who was missing & found dead in a shed.After that we made sure we had a kerosene stove handy,in case the power ever left us stranded again. We know now to have a back up plan.!
After we got back home, we shoveled out 45 buckets of snow from the attic, so it wouldn"t melt unto our ceiling when power came back on! I have pics, but are stored away.

Mike Zehender, former resident  of Findlay, now living in Lexington, KY. Class of 1978

My sister and I shared an upstairs apartment on North Main Street, directly across from where Archie's is on North Main. (If it is still there) We had a garage and car lot business below us. When we woke in the morning, I remember the radio telling us to cook any food we might need and to get water because they weren't sure when the power would go out and the water would freeze up, if it would. We were up for less than an hour when both happened.
I remember being in 3 or 4 layers of clothes and being huddled together in blankets to keep warm. When the storm ended and the sky was clear, we bundled up and walked out to our mom's house on Bernard Avenue. When we needed food I remember being one of the people who took our sled and walked back to Food Town on North Main Street. On the way, there were several people who opened there doors and asked if we wanted to come in and get warm. I remember the city having a emergency system in place that allowed people know if you had extra food, and other supplies. A red piece of cloth or flag meant you had gasoline or other types of fuel to spare. There was one for food. I remember my brother living out on Route 12 at the time and us having to walk about a mile in to his house to check on the family. I have pictures of the blizzard but 30 years have passed and they are packed away somewhere. If I can find them, I will share them at a later time.


I was not around during the blizzard. However a few years back came across a book that the McComb comunity made that was compiled with stories of different people's experince of the Blizzard. Check with the McComb Library or someone from the McComb area and you might be able to find a copy.

Sherri Beach

I am from Fostoria and was a teenager at the time, My father owned a gas station and had two wreckers. I remember I was at home with my mom and we were lucky, I do not remember being without electric or being cold. My dad wasn't home for days, everyone with four wheel drive vehicles and snowmobiles were at his gas station to help who ever needed it. The phone was ringing off the hook. My mom would make food for them, and someone would come out and pick it up, and bring more food out for mom to fix for them. I'm not sure what happened but a bunch of the four wheelers started plowing the streets over here and made the city mad and there was this huge council meeting after all was over, the council chambers was packed, lined down the hallways, I remember standing up and saying something and my picture ended up on the front page of Review Times. I remember my dad then telling us about some of the tragic things that happened to people, the people who died in their car out by the airport because no one could get to them because of the drifts. Like I said I was one of the lucky ones, because of the great amount of people at my father's station in four wheel drives and snowmobiles willing to help anyone who needed it. People really come together when other people need help here in Fostoria.

Connie Lesher

My step father; Arthur Miller died the day it started. I lived in Wood County and my Mom; Donna Deitrick, and Art lived in Findlay. I tried to get to Findlay but at this point it was freezing rain. I turned around and said to my self," I'll try again tomarrow," By morning the wind and snow was blowing so hard it was a total white out. It would be weeks before we could get out for the funeral. We could not bury him for weeks also.
My car was completely covered with snow. Helicoptors dropped food down for us.It's an experiance that I believe everyone knows where they where during THE BLIZZARD.

Karen Leonard

Our children were 4 & 6 yrs. old and we had 4 additional adults stranded here that worked the night shift. We lived in the country in an old farm house and were without electricity for 58 ½ hours. Our phone also went out so we had no communication with the outside world. We just had a fireplace built in our house that was completed in December and that was our only source of heat. I really don’t know what we would have done if we wouldn’t have had that. All 8 of us were confined to one room that had a lot of windows and doorways. We had blankets stapled to every opening from top to bottom. To leave the room we crawled on the floor under the blanket to not lose what heat we had. We had plenty of food in the freezer and would heat what we could in the fireplace. We just piled up the dirty dishes in the kitchen and when the electric came on, everything was frozen in the dishes and it was 16 degrees in my kitchen. We moved the furniture out of the room and carried the mattresses from upstairs and lined them wall to wall to sleep. The guys took turns guarding the fire at night but after the “guard” fell asleep the 2nd night the fire got pretty low and we were only able to get the room to about 50-55 degrees. The only communication we had was a CB radio and my husband brought a battery in the house from his tractor to hook up the CB. We had a set time that we would check in with some neighbors by CB. We would also only turn our radio on at the top of the hour to save the batteries and to get updates. Our “guests” were picked up after 58 hours by snowmobiles. It was a few days later before we were able to get a car out and go to Findlay.

Barbara Kieffer

We were very lucky because we did'nt lose power, however, our sheep started having lambs on the day of the blizzard, my husband wore a red hat so I could see him going from the house to the barn, we lived back a long lane so it was hard for anyone to get in or for us to get out, but we lived in a wonderful, caring neighborhood so people were in touch with each other as soon as it was possible.

kathey hankins

well it was a day that my family will never for get my dad had already left to go to work at the dairy and had made it to work he had to walk to work because the car was not running and we live out in the contry by sping lake and we didn't have much to eat and we a very old pot that my mom started a fire in to heat up a can of beans because we had run out of food and it was not fun tryong to stay worm there was 4 of us in the house at that time plus we had a dog but we alway did thank god that he keep us going and we thank my uncel because of him he got us out of the house and took us to my grandparents house where my daddy was at and thay got us some food but we did have some fun with the ride to the four wheel drive my mom and her brother was on snowmoble and thay was taking a turn and my mom fall off and no one was hurt but thay could not stop laughing but we thank god to get us to safety when he did


I was almost 4 years old, so I don't remember alot, but I do remember my brothers and sister and I jumping from the top of our house trailer into the snow pile, which were up to the windows. We lived in Forest.

I also remember having to go to the ER by 4x4, cause I had an ear infection, but its the only way they would allow my mom to take me to the ER is for them to take us.

John Moorhead

I am a Findlay native, residing in the area of Jacksonville, Florida since 1972. My wedding day was Jan. 21, 1978, and one of my best friends who was to be in the wedding could not get his car out of his garage because of the snow on Jan. 20th. My parents did make it, leaving the day before, but could not make it back on time. When my bride and I returned from our honeymoon in Aruba, ready to begin our life together in our new home, my parents were waiting on the front porch! It was another week before they could fly back up to Ohio. That story still brings smiles. My father subsequently sent many pictures of the snow after they returned to provide visual proof that they really did not intend to live with us the first week of marriage in our home.

Lonny Newland

I remember the Blizzard of 78 because my Sister was born in February of that year.My Mom had to have some guys on snowmobiles pick her up and take her to the hospital.A couple of days later we could finally leave the house and we all went to see my Mom and Our new Sister.I also remember how it drove me nuts being trapped in the house all week and not being able to leave.

Doug Berger

We lived on Trenton Ave where the Wal-Mart is now. It started with rain and thunder then boom high winds and snow. I was up early in the morning and we listened to WFIN until the power went out. It wasn't until the next day or so when we went out after defrosting the front door. They had Great Scot on Broad open for a few hours and my Mom and I walked pulling a sled to get what non-perishable food the store still had. There was no bread or milk until the trucks could make it in. It was wild seeing dozens of people walking down the only clear spot - the middle of Broad Ave headed to the store. Some people used their cross country skis.

WFIN was on the air coordinating snowmobiles and what few SUVs were around in those days to take Doctors and nurses to the Hospital and also to get to people who needed medical assistance. They also relayed info about all the people rescued off I-75 when the drivers got snow bound and news about people who were trapped at work.

At my house we broke out the Sterno stove we used for camping so we had a little hot food and hot water to wash up. Mom had filled some buckets with water before our pipes froze up.

My poor dog, a toy poodle, didn't want to go outside to do her business. We had to pick her up and set her on the stoop. She would go down the steps into the drifts and we could just see her nose sticking up out of the snow.

Mark A Shrider

I was ten years old & lived in Heatherview Apartments out on route 12. It's now called Inverness Gardens. I recall going with my older sisters to Sur-Sav to pick up supplies (Sur-Sav was where Jim's Gym & Dollar General are now on North Main). We had taken laundry baskets so we could pull the supplies in a sled type manner. It was so cold that the plastic laundry baskets cracked & basically fell apart. Only my oldest sister made the whole trip (actually, I don't even remember if she went the whole way either). My other sister & I turned back about the time we reached the top of the over-pass (this was before that section of Broad Ave connected with Bigelow).

I also recall the snow drifting to the point when we opened our front door (we lived in one of the town houses) all you could see was a wall of snow. My dad went out through my bedroom window which was directly over the front door.

At some point there were some folks in the complex who had snowmobiles & they went around & got orders from people & picked up supplies at Sur-Sav (I believe they had to go farther for some stuff).

I also remember digging into the snow drifts to make a fort.
Snowball fights & a bunch of days off from school. There was a laundry room in the building in the center of the complex. There was a drier that was malfunctioning --- so when we were out playing & got cold we just went to the laundry room & put our coats in the drier for a few minutes to get them all warm & toasty --- then it was back to playing. Of course when my mother found out we all got in trouble.

Our bus got stuck trying to turn around. This was also before those other apartments were there. One day a Jeep went flying by while a bunch of us were waiting for the bus. A few minutes later came an ambulance. We found out later that the Jeep slid off the road & hit a tree. The wreckage was still there when our bus went by. Moments after the ambulance left with the driver of the Jeep & motorcycle (yes, I'm serious; a motorcycle) went flying by & a few of us ran out towards the road & saw it go into a long skid sliding on its side. A few minutes later came yet another ambulance. Then it was off to school.

PBS --- WBGU had a great documentary about the bilzzard a few years ago.

ah...memories...even if they are fading...

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