Audio clip courtesy of KLBJ-AM radio, August 1, 1996.

Margaret Whitman

Mother of Charles Whitman, who was killed in the early morning of Monday, August 1, 1966. She was estranged from her husband, Charles A. Whitman, a plumbing contractor in Lake Worth, Florida, because of his violent and abusive tendencies toward her and their family. She left behind two other sons besides Charles Whitman: Patrick Whitman, who died of AIDS complications, and John Michael Whitman, who was shot and killed at a bar called "Big Daddies" in 1973 at age 24. Margaret Whitman's remains now rest in Lake Worth, Florida, along with those of her three sons.


Kathy Whitman

23-year-old wife of Charles Whitman, died early Monday, August 1, 1966. On August 17, 1966, she would have been married to Charles Whitman for 4 years. During the summer of 1966, she was a telephone operator for Southwestern Bell; the previous year, she was a biology instructor at Lanier High School in Austin. Kathy Whitman graduated from the University of Texas in 1964. A friend of the family, Donald Ferguson, said, "She [Kathy] was as sweet a person as I have ever known, I mean it, 100%." To this day she is still deeply missed by her family. Survivors included her mother and father, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond W. Lessner, and three brothers: Nelson, 17; Ray, 14; and Adam, 2.


Edna Townsley

51-year-old secretary was killed Monday, August 1, 1966. She was at the observation deck check-in desk waiting to be relieved for lunch, and was the first of Whitman's victims on campus. Mrs. Townsley had worked at University of Texas since 1958, first as an elevator operator, later as a secretary. Her co-workers described her as a "real scrapper," and attested to her hearty laughter which used to fill the halls of the tower. She left behind two beloved sons: Danny Townsley, 16, and Terry Townsley, 12. She also left a nameplate on her desk reading "Mrs. Edna Townsley."


Marguerite Lamport

45-year-old resident of Austin was killed Monday, August 1, 1966. She was taking her brother, M.J. Gabour of Texarkana, and his family--his wife Mary and their sons Mark and Mike--on a tour of the tower when Charles Whitman attacked them.


Mark Gabour

16-year-old boy was killed Monday, August 1, 1966. He and his family were visiting the University of Texas observation deck immediately after Charles Whitman arrived. His family was stopping to visit Marguerite Lamport (Gabour's aunt) on their way to an All-Star High School football game. His family included his brother Mike (18), who was critically wounded by Charles Whitman; his mother, Mary, critically wounded by Charles Whitman (she later wrote the memoir "The Impossible Tree"); and his father, M.J. 30 years later, Mark's friend, John, voiced his grief. 1070 Kb (AU - for Mac) or 1069 Kb(WAV - for PC).


Audio clip courtesy of KLBJ-AM radio, August 1, 1996.

Paul Sonntag

18-year-old fiancee of Claudia Rutt, died Monday, August 1, 1966. He was a recent graduate of Stephen F. Austin High. At the time he was shot, he was a lifeguard at Reed Pool, picking up his paycheck from the Parks and Recreation Department. His last words to Josephine Bailey, the secretary, were: "As far as I know, I'll be back next summer." As he stood up from a construction barricade to glimpse Whitman in the tower, he said to Claudia and a friend, Carla: "Carla! Come look, I can see him. This is for real." He was shot immediately after finishing the last sentence. He would have attended the University of Colorado in the fall. Instead, Sonntag was buried at Austin Memorial Park.


Claudia Rutt

18-year-old fiancee of Paul Sonntag, died Monday August 1, 1966. She was a recent graduate of Stephen F. Austin High. "Some sort of memorial" was planned for her and Paul Sonntag, said Grady Rylander, Senior Class President of 1966. After Sonntag fell, she moved from the baracade, and knelt beside him. Her friend Carla tried to move her, but Claudia was struck by a bullet in the chest. Claudia Rutt died wearing Sonntag's ring on a chain around her neck. She was survived by her parents Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Rutt, and one sister, Mary Anne Rutt. She was buried in the Beth Israel section of Oakwood Cemetary. Her dream was to be a dancer.


Robert H. Boyer

33-year-old former mathematics professor at the University of Texas was killed on Monday, August 1, 1966. Boyer had just completed a month of teaching in Mexico. He was visiting friends in Austin, and was on his way to Liverpool University, where he would have taught applied mathematics. Upset by a national airline strike, Boyer left his friends' house to buy a train ticket. On his way, he was to stop at the Main Building to take care of some last-minute business. His survivors included his widow, Mrs. Lyndsay Boyer, a daughter, Laura Boyer, and a son, Matthew Boyer.


Billy Speed

22-year-old policeman who was killed Monday, August 1, 1966, by Charles Whitman. He was commissioned into the Austin Police Department on July 2, 1965. He was a veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division and a member of the Austin Police Association. He left behind his wife, Mrs. Jean Speed, and a 16-month-old daughter, Rebecca Lynn Speed. Click here to hear his widow talk about his death 30 years later on August 1, 1996. 971 Kb(AU - for Mac) or 971 Kb(WAV - for PC)


Audio clip courtesy of KLBJ-AM radio, August 1, 1996.

Roy Dell Schmidt

29-year-old city of Austin employee died at University of Texas on Monday, August 1, 1966. He was shot while making a customer service call at the University for the electric company. He stood behind his service vehicle and was shot; his last words were, "I'm hit! I'm hit!" His survivors included his widow, Nancy White Schmidt, and daughter, Kimberly Dawn Schmidt.


Thomas Eckman

18 year old from Barcelona, Spain, died at a local hospital on Monday, August 1, 1966. He had just completed a 9-week exam for anthropology, and was walking with Claire Wilson near Benedict Hall at the University. As Whitman began shooting, Eckman threw himself onto Claire Wilson, in a vain attempt to protect her. A bullet passed through him and into Claire Wilson's abdomen. He left behind his mother, Mary Louise Eckman, his father, Frederick Eckman, and half-brother, Michael R. Campbell. He was described as a "gentle and affectionate boy."


Unborn Child of Claire Wilson

Died Monday, August 1, 1966, while emergency surgery was being performed on his mother, Mrs. Claire Wilson, who was shot in the abdomen by Charles Whitman. Mrs. Claire Wilson survived.


Harry Walchuck

Died Monday, August 1, 1966, while in emergency surgery from a gunshot wound. He was at the University working on his PhD, when, at lunch time, he crossed Guadalupe to buy a magazine. The newsstand didn't have the magazine he was looking for. He was shot and killed immediately afterward. His family included his widow, Marilyn Walchuck, six children--John, Peter, Christopher, Jennifer, Thomas, and Paul. By August 6, 1966, over $850 had been contributed to a memorial fund in his honor, mostly by married students at the University of Texas. He was well known for the love he held for his family.


Thomas Ashton

22-year-old college graduate from Redlands, California, died Monday, August 1, 1966. He was at the University of Texas attending a Peace Corps training class and would have left for Iran on September 14. He was on his way to the Student Union to meet a few friends for lunch. His survivors include his parents, Mr. and Mrs. George F. Ashton.


Thomas Karr

24 year old died on the operating table Monday, August 1, 1966. He had just left Batts Hall, pleased with a Spanish test he had taken. His survivors included his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ray T. Karr.


Karen Griffith

17-year-old victim of Charles Whitman, died Monday, August 8, 1966. Karen would have been a Lanier High School senior. She left behind her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Griffith, and a sister, Pamela Griffith.



PREVIOUS Introduction NEXT

Memorial Bibliography Thanks
Submissions 330e Message Forum
Cultural References August 1, 1966... ...and everything after.



This document was created by:
Wesley Forni forndog@mail.utexas.edu and Star Gebser stargebser@mail.utexas.edu.
This site was last modified on December 6, 1996.