Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Palm Sunday tornadoes here in the Starke-Marshall area.
Shortly before 6 p.m. after massive thunderstorms passed through the area, the first tornado of many reported that day touched down in Starke County a few miles southwest of Hamlet. It crossed U.S. 30 and tore directly across Koontz Lake.
One-hundred vacation cottages were damaged. As one of the cottages was blown to pieces, the man inside was lifted into the air and thrown to his death 600 feet away.
The F-3 strength tornado that wreaked havoc at Koontz Lake, and completely flattened the building progress on the new LaVille High School, traveled more than 35 miles through the area.
In Starke, Marshall, St. Joseph, and Elkhart Counties, there were ten deaths. Eighty-two people were injured. A total of 138 people were killed, and 1,200 were injured in the Indiana outbreak. It was the second most active tornado week in area history, with 21 killer tornadoes reported.