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Airplane part returned to family 55 years later

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cherokee father, son died in 1955 plane crash

On Jan. 21, 1955, Frank Booth, along with his son, Dale, were killed when their Piper Cub airplane crashed while spotting foxes for a group of area men who were hunting on the ground below. The crash happened six miles south and one mile west of Cushing. Dale was piloting the plane at the time of the crash.

Both Frank and Dale were the J.I. Case dealers in Cherokee. Their implement business, Booth Implement Company,,was located in the building that now houses KCHE radio station.

Pictured is the Piper Cub airplane which crashed near Cushing on Jan. 21, 1955 killing both Dale and Frank Booth of Cherokee . Gerold Nissen of Cushing took this photograph shortly after the tragic accident. Photo contributed
In 1955, Frank was one of the organizers of the Cherokee Gun Club and Dale was a member of the Storm Lake National Guard, in which he held the rank of first lieutenant.

Shortly after the accident, Dale's wife, Stella, and their daughter Cindy, who was two-years old at the time, moved away from the area.

Recently, Don Blake of Cherokee noticed that the now-grown Cindy Booth Maher was the new coordinator for the Cherokee County Gen Web site (www.iagenweb.org/cherokee). In her introduction page, she said that her father and grandfather were killed in that accident. Blake soon began corresponding with Maher. He learned that she and her mother both live near the Iowa City area.

Shortly thereafter, Blake remembered that Gerold Nissen of Cushing had taken some pictures of the accident. Blake contacted him, and Nissen sent him some pictures of the tragic scene. Blake soon sent them on to Maher and, according to Blake, she was thrilled to receive them.

Blake also remembered that Marion Robb, a local farmer, was also a pilot back at the time of the accident. He had salvaged the control surfaces from the wreck. Blake was in the aircraft repair business for years, and in the 1970's had obtained parts of the Booth plane from Robb.

Don Blake of Cherokee, left, recently presented Cindy Maher with the rudder from the airplane in which her father and grandfather were flying when they had their fatal crash. Photo contributed
At the time of Blake's and Maher's correspondence, he still had the rudder of the Booth's plane in his basement. Blake informed Maher, and she told Blake that she would love to have it. Maher said she had nothing of her father and grandfather.

She added, "The tragic accident occurred 55 years ago. I was less than three years old and do not remember my dad and grand-dad. That is why I'm so curious to know more about them personally and also an understanding of the events that led up to the crash.I understand they were popular businessmen and had numerous friends in the community."

Recently, Blake and Maher met at his daughter's home in Pleasant Hil,l and he presented her with the rudder.

Maher stated that she would like to hear from any of the hunters who were hunting that day, and she would also love to have any memorabilia from Booth Implement - such as pencils, yardsticks, or other memorabilia used as promotional materials which Booth Implement might have given away to their customers.

If you know of any memorabilia , you can contact Maher at 319-828-4480 or e-mail her at cindylee53@aol.com

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Thoroughly enjoyed the recent article on Frank and Dale Booth and am pretty certain my Father Jim Clark was hunting with the crew that day. That whole crew did a lot of fox and coyote hunting that way as well as with Marion Robb spotting. My father worked as a salesman for F&D Booth Implement at the time and I was there as a youngster quite often. Now and then I even got to go ride along on the hunts with Dad. Still remember the big bets made on the Coke bottles out of the machine at the store as to whose bottle was the most remote as the locations were always on the bottom of the Cokes.

Larry Clark

-- Posted by fernwell on Mon, Apr 19, 2010, at 2:41 PM

Very nice story about the Booth's and daughter Cindy. I always wanted to fly, and I live at Cushing. I don't live very far from where the accident happened. I took the picture of the crash site that appears in the paper. Little did I know that 55 years later it might be of intrest to someone. I did get my pilots license and flew for about 30 years till health problems forced me to quit flying. Such a tragic thing to have happen. A very good job of writing. A good human intrest stroy, and kind of pulls at the old heart strings.

Gerold Nissen

-- Posted by magmay on Wed, Apr 21, 2010, at 6:43 PM

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