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George Schryver 1905-1953


Posted By: Merllene Andre Bendixen (email)
Date: 6/10/2011 at 19:35:17

George W. Schryver, 50, who drowned Sunday [May 17, 1953] when his boat capsized in West Okoboji lake, was the husband of the late Mary Ruddy of Emmetsburg, sister of Mrs. Herman LeDuc and Mrs. Vincent Leduc, both of this community. He operated a barber shop in Estherville and was also assistant chief of the Estherville volunteer fire department. Schryver had visited in Emmetsburg on several occasions. Two other persons also drowned in the tragedy, Mrs. Mildred Goff, 32, and her son, Bruce, 8, also of Estherville. (The Reporter, Emmetsburg, IA, May 19, 1953)

Three Drown in Okoboji as Boat Overturns
Rescue Mother, Child Who Cling to Capsized Boat
Estherville Workers Recover Bodies of Boating Victims

A light paneled plywood boat, powered by a 10 horsepower outboard motor, turned over Sunday afternoon in West Okoboji, drowning three of its five occupants.

Dead were George W. Schryver, 48; Mrs. Mildred Goff, 32, and her son, Bruce, 8, all of Estherville. Their bodies were found Monday in nearly 50 feet of water.

Two of the party of five were recovered from the cold waters of Okoboji through the fast work of two men at the nearest boat livery Ė Weavers Boat Livery near Pikes Point. Rescued were Mrs. Helen Dean and her daughter, 6, also of Estherville.

They were able to cling to the boat until help arrived. The mother had been able to grab her child and hang on to the capsized boat after being tossed in the water.

Don Ahrens and Richard Griffith, the rescuers, were in their boat and on their way back to the scene of the mishap almost immediately. Ahrens said he thought that less than three minutes had passed from the time of the upset to the time they reached the boat. The other three victims were no where in sight.

Mrs. Dean, weak and numb from shock and the cold water, as unable to talk when first hauled into the rescue boat. She and her child were taken immediately to the Spirit Lake hospital and were reported in good condition Monday.

Patrolling Begins
Rescue work to recover the three bodies began immediately after the accident Sunday afternoon. Boats manned by the lakes patrol, the Spirit Lake and Arnolds Park emergency squads began dragging the water.

Operations continued until 9 p.m. to no avail. The workmen gave up for the night when darkness set in but continued Monday morning, starting at 7:30 a.m. That morning they were joined by a crew of volunteers from the Estherville fire department, of which one of the missing, Schryver, was assistant chief.

Between seven and nine boats assisted in the operation.

As fate would have it, the Estherville crew finally succeeded in bringing the bodies to surface. All three of the victims came up on the same line, indicating that they had been very close together on the bottom of the lake. They were drowned in nearly 50 feet of water and due west from the Weaver Livery about halfway across the lake.

Boat Recently Purchased
The boat was purchased by Schryver, the owner, less than a day before the accident. Sunday afternoon he had invited Mrs. Goff and Mrs. Dean and their children to take a ride in the craft.

Mrs. Dean told authorities she was sitting in the center of the boat and decided to move. She said that as she stood up, Schryver, sitting at the steering wheel, said something to her.

She started to turn to ask him what he had said and the next thing she knew, they were in the water.

On shore, Ahrens, who had been watching the boat just minutes before heard someone shout that the boat had upset. He was joined by Griffith and they shoved off immediately in a boat from the end of the Weaver dock.

Ahrens said that the upset boat was drifting toward the dock and that not more than three minutes could have passed before they reached the boat and the two survivors.

Ahrens operates the Weaver Livery. Griffith works as a tree trimmer in Arnolds Park.

A strong gust of wind, which swept over the lake suddenly about the time of the tragedy, was thought to be an attributing factor.

Floyd Goff, husband and father of two of the victims, was in his cottage at the lake at the time.

Schryver operated a barber shop in Estherville. Mrs. Dean operates the Orchid shop, a flower store near Schryverís barber shop.

The triple tragedy marks the first victims of the lake this year. One person drowned in the Iowa Great Lakes during 1952. (Spirit Lake Beacon, Spirit Lake, IA, May 21, 1953)

Party Drowned in Okoboji Was a Former Resident
Miss Bertha Gaard, who has been visiting Mrs. Schryver at Estherville, tells us that the Schryver family formerly lived on the Oliver farm near Ruthven. Her son, George, a barber living at Estherville, and Mrs. Mildred Goff and her 8-year-old son were drowned several weeks ago when Schryverís boat, powered by an outboard motor, upset on Lake Okoboji. Miss Gaard tells us that when the boat upset, Schryver and Mrs. Dunn and her daughter caught hold of the overturned boat. But when Schryver, who was a good swimmer, saw Mrs. Goff and her son floundering in the water nearby, he went to their rescue, and as he reached them they grabbed hold of him and all sank beneath the surface of the water. A number of Ruthven people are acquainted with the Schryver family. (Ruthven Free Press, Ruthven, IA, July 15, 1953,)

Drownings in Okoboji Basis of Two Lawsuits
Two damage suits totaling $50,000 have been filed in district court at Estherville against the Geo. Schryver estate as an aftermath of a boat upset in Lake Okoboji last summer in which three persons were drowned.

George Schryver, who owned and was piloting a motor boat, was drowned in trying to save two other members of the party, Mrs. Floyd Goff and son, who were drowned.

The damage suits contend that negligence was used in handling the boat by allowing five persons to occupy it and by operating the boat in a speed in excess of 15 miles an hour.

Mrs. Helen Dean and daughter, also passengers in this boat were rescued as they clung to the overturned boat. Schryver swam out to Mrs. Goff and son to bring them to the overturned boat, but they pulled him under in their attempt to save themselves.

George Schryver spent his boyhood in the Ruthven vicinity. (Ruthven Free Press, Ruthven, IA, November 4, 1953)

Settlement Amounts Filed
Two damage suits brought by Floyd Goff against the estate of the late George Schyrver were settled out of court for $1,500 each, according to the records filed with the clerk of district court here Wednesday afternoon. Goff brought the suit against Harry Schryver, as administrator of the Schryver estate, for his deceased wife and eight-year-old son Bruce. He was asking for $25,000 in each case. The suit was brought to trial on May 17, just a year after the boating accident on Lake West Okoboji which claimed the life of Mr. Schryver, Mrs. Goff and Bruce. The case was settled out of court before it went to the jury and the amount of settlement was not stated at the time. (Estherville Daily News, Estherville, IA, May 29, 1954)


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