Members of the Shocker community came together at 9 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 2 for the 43rd annual Memorial '70 remembrance ceremony held at Wichita State's memorial site located on Alumni Drive near 18th and Hillside. The ceremony honored the 31 WSU football players, coaches, administrators and supporters who died in the Oct. 2, 1970 plane crash in Colorado's Rocky Mountains. The tragedy looms as the saddest day in the history of Shocker football.
With Wednesday's gray, foggy morning mirroring the somber occasion, the ceremony opened with the placing of two memorial wreaths, followed by remarks from WSU President John Bardo. The university's Madrigal Singers, under the direction of Tom Wine, sang one selection before the names of those who died were read by Dick Welsbacher, longtime director of theater at WSU.
Among those in attendance was Dorothy Harmon '46, who became the first woman assistant athletic director in the country during her tenure at Wichita State. After the plane crash, Harmon served as interim athletic director. Also at the memorial service were James Rhatigan, WSU dean emeritus of students; Linwood Sexton '48, former Shocker football standout and community leader; Todd Butler, WSU baseball head coach, and current members of the Shocker team; and Howard and Virginia Johnson, parents of Ron Johnson, who died in the plane crash.