Friday, June 15, 2018

On This Date in Minnesota History: June 15

June 15, 1922 - A bolt of lightning that struck a raft at the Chisago City summer camp of the Minneapolis Y.M.C.A during this evening’s storm killed Raymond F. Thomas, 30 years old, swimming instructor at the Central Y.M.C.A.

Claude Neavies and George Anderson, two other secretaries from the Minneapolis Y.M.C.A., who were also standing on the raft, were hurled into the water by the bolt, but were uninjured. They hurried to Thomas’ aid, but found him dead.

Thomas had gone to the Chisago City camp early today with three other secretaries, Neavies, Anderson and Ben Chapman, to prepare the camp for its opening next week. Chapman was on the shore and the other three men were standing on the raft, erecting a diving tower, when the storm broke.

The lightning bolt, one of the storm’s first manifestations, struck first in the water near the raft, then hit the raft.

Physicians with a pulmotor were summoned from Chisago City, but reported Thomas was beyond help. The body was taken to Chisago City this evening.

Thomas is a graduate of East High School, and was a student in the medical college of the University of Minnesota at the time of his death. He was a member of the medical corps during the war, and was declared to be the first American soldier to reach German soil. He was cited by his own and the French governments for conspicuous bravery.

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Lightning Kills ‘Y’ Instructor at Chisago City. R. F. Thomas, Swimming Teacher, Loses Life at Summer Camps. One Other Man Dies, One Overcome, Two Hurt During Storm. “; June 16, 1911; p. 1.


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