Bill's Story

I met Bill via email after searching for information on the tornado.

In searching for more information, I stumbled on his web site, because on the 10th Gerneration Page, it contained the following:

"Note: The Mau family home was destroyed in the May 6, 1975 tornado in Omaha."

Not only did Bill put me in touch with Cindy (Mau) Gottsch, but he included his recollection of the event.

Bill Gottsch was 30 years old at the time of the tornado.
(...I can remember my dad's words to this day, "Jesus Christ, I’m going to the basement,” then the phone went dead... )

My wife and I were living in a house just behind my dad on the corner of 67th and Grant St. We had built the family home there in 1958, and my wife and I lived in a small house that had belonged to my grandparents. In 1975, I was 30 years old and had grown up and lived in that neighborhood for almost 17 years. At the time I was working in downtown Omaha on the 6th floor of the old Salvation Army Building.

I could see the storm brewing to the west, and was listening to the weather reports on the radio and TV. They then broadcast that a tornado was heading northeast from Center Street along 72nd Street. I called my dad to see what was happening at home. My dad was a "mans man" and there wasn't much that bothered or scared him. I can remember my dad's words to this day, "Jesus Christ, I’m going to the basement,” then the phone went dead. I called my wife at her office and told her I was leaving work and would pick her up. I told her about my conversation with my dad and we may not have a home any longer.

When we arrived home, we were some of the lucky ones. The tornado had cut a path between 70th and 68th Street from Blondo to Maple Street. Everything between those Streets was destroyed. My wife and I walked around that evening, and I can remember getting lost in the neighborhood I had grown up in, nothing was the same. The homes that were not totally destroyed had been ripped from their foundations. The only fatality, that I can remember, was a man who got on top of the gas station on the corner of 68th and Maple Street to watch the tornado. Our yard was littered with debris and personal papers from homes and stores that were miles from our home. That storm gave me a whole new prospective and respect for the power and destructive nature of a tornado.