Those killed in flash floods at the Albert Pike Recreation Area loved the outdoors in general and the rugged beauty of the Ouachita Mountains in particular. The 19 confirmed dead include a number of children, a young mother and a New Orleans-area grandmother who had vacationed in the area for 60 years.
Some of their stories:
Leslie Jez of Foreman, Ark., was a 2005 graduate of Ashdown High School who attended the University of Arkansas at De Queen for elementary education, according to her Facebook page. She was married and had a 3-year-old, Kaden.
She also wrote that she loved horses and spent her free time riding colts and barrel racing.
“So ready to go camping this weekend,” she wrote on her Facebook page last Monday. “Kaden is going to love it!!” She later added, “Not looking foward to that cold water, but sounds like I might change my mind after seeing how hot it’s supposed to be.”
Jez’s mother, Sherry Wade, also was killed in the flood.
Kay Roeder, 69, had been visiting the campground since she was 9 years old. This year, she was camping with about 20 children and grandchildren, all in recreational vehicles along the Little Missouri River.
Roeder died in the flood along with her son, Bruce; and his wife, Debbie. All were from Luling, La.; outside of New Orleans.
Bruce Roeder “woke up, must have heard the water,” family friend Kerry Hotard told The Times-Picayune newspaper. She said Bruce Roeder ushered much of the family up a hill to safety. But as he turned to go back to get those who remained, the water was too high, Hotard said.
Kylee Sullivan and Gayble Moss, both 7, were grade-school classmates starting the summer break with a camping trip.
The two had just finished first grade at St. James Day School in Texarkana. They died in the flood, along with Kylee’s grandmother, Julie Freeman, 53.
Gayble’s family described their daughter to the Texarkana Gazette as the “flaxen-haired child with the mischievous smile and twinkle in her eyes who flitted among us as a beautiful butterfly we knew and loved.”
The Smith and Basinger families of Gloster, La., were camping together at the Albert Pike Recreation Area. Anthony Smith, 30, died in the flood, along with his 2-year-old daughter, Katelynn, and 5-year-old son, Joey. His wife, Candace, survived the flood.
“I know it is in my mind intellectually, but my heart I don’t feel he’s gone,” Smith’s mother, Nancy Hathorne, told Shreveport, La., television station KTBS. “My heart really hasn’t registered it.”
Shane Basinger was also killed in the flood, along with his 6-year-old daughter, Kinsley. His wife, Kerri, survived but their 8-year-old daughter, Jadyn, remains missing.
Robert “Lynn” Shumake, 68, enjoyed camping with family, including his 8-year-old grandson, Nicholas Wade Shumake. Both residents of DeKalb, Texas, died in the flooding, and Robert’s wife, Wilene, was still missing Saturday.
Lynn’s cousin David Shumake said the family frequently camped at Albert Pike, and that Nic spent a lot of time with his grandparents.
Lynn Shumake was retired after a long career at the Red River Army Depot.
“They were good people, hardworking people,” David Shumake said.