Nearly four decades later, Coleman residents remember deadly tornado


COLEMAN, Texas - Residents of Coleman who witnessed the 1975 tornado describe it as something they'll never forget.

Just after 6 p.m. on the evening of May 13, 1975, a tornado touched down on the south side of town.

Unlike many tornadoes, this one moved from east to west and churned a path of destruction along Santa Anna Avenue.

Donna Anderson lived blocks from the twister's path and remembers the terrifying day clearly.

"There were cows, there were trees, there were rooftops spinning in it and we watched it the entire way up Santa Anna Ave. and it just zigzagged, it was just like a pinball machine," Anderson said.

The tornado that would later be rated an EF-2, claimed two lives, a Jehovah's Witness preacher and his wife.

Anderson's father actually stopped to help the couple after the tornado had lifted.

"We did stop there and my dad did render aid to the preacher and his wife," Anderson said.

Emotionally, she continued.

"Evidently they didn't know it was coming, they thought it had already passed through and they didn't even try to get out of the trailer," said Anderson.

The Baber Welding Shop currently resides just north of where the original one was leveled by the storm.

"I came through the road block to get out to the office to see what was left and everything was gone except a few vehicles," said Betty Baber, who owns the shop with her husband.

At the time, one person was there but he survived by hiding behind a refrigerator.

When it was over, two were dead and five more were injured.

In addition to the welding shop, 5 homes and an abandoned motel, The Oak Motel, were lost.