ISU Crash Victims Remembered 30 Years Later

Nov 26, 2015

It has been 30 years since a plane crash in a Des Moines neighborhood killed several members of the Iowa State University women's cross country team. Thursday, hundreds of people gathered at the crash site to remember those who were lost in that crash.  The team had just surprised even itself by placing second at the NCAA national championships in Milwaukee. A group consisting of two coaches, three runners, a student trainer and the pilot stayed behind to collect the trophy, while other team members and officials boarded other small planes for Iowa. The last plane arrived in Des Moines during an ice storm, and went down in a west-side neighborhood, killing all seven people on board: coaches Ron Renko and Pat Moynihan; runners Sheryl Maahs, Julie Rose and Sue Baxter; student trainer Stephanie Streit; and pilot Burton Watkins. Ron Maahs says his sister, Sheryl, was a humble runner who wanted to stay out of the spotlight. “I really hope that the team that day 30 years ago exceeded its own expectations, she actually enjoyed herself and truly celebrated her own accomplishment,” he said. Runners Julie Rose and Susan Baxter were from Britain. Former ISU runner Cathy Hunter Lynham came all the way from Scotland to be part of the memorial. “There’s a verse I remember reading, and it says, I learned people will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel. You made us feel great, you gave us a great bond, a lovely friendship, and you will never be forgotten, ” she said. There is a marker on the ISU campus in Ames honoring the crash victims.  Now, funds are being raised to build a permanent memorial overlooking the crash site in Des Moines.