Everyone loves a snow day! Well, not everyone. Kids love it because they get a day away from school. But, most of us have to worry about digging the car out of a snowdrift and driving on treacherous roads to get to work. According to the National Weather Service, the biggest snowstorm to hit Flint occurred on January 26-27, 1967, dumping a total of 22.7 inches in a short amount of time. The storm has been referred to as “one of the all-time worst blizzards in the state of Michigan.” Over the years, Flint has experienced many snowstorms.
Many people have good (and not so good) memories about being snowed in, losing power or sliding into in a ditch. Others have fond memories: playing outside, skiing, snowmobiling, building snowmen and snow forts. For one local couple, you could say the great storm of 1967 created the memory of a lifetime.
Ron and Pat Lockwood of Fenton just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year. They were married on January 28, 1967 and will never forget the snowstorm that occurred and wreaked havoc on their special day. Ron was in the Navy, stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Base in Chicago. The wedding was to be held at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Dearborn, and was to be a lavish, all-day event, Pat says. There were seven bridesmaids, and the nuptials were set for 10am, followed by a breakfast and then a huge dinner and reception in the evening.
But the weather had something else in mind. Ron left the Naval base in Chicago to come home for his wedding on Thursday. His tiny, black Volkswagen was filled with bottles of liquor for the wedding reception, as Chicago was the “place to go” to buy liquor at the time, Pat explains. “He left the Naval Base, which immediately closed due the looming snowstorm. It took him three days to get home!
Needless to say, Ron missed the rehearsal dinner. He was stuck on several highways, inching his way home. He called to tell of his perils, getting stuck with 50 other cars. “The snow is up to my waist,” he said, after stopping at a phone booth to report his progress. “Pat’s mother answered the call, and told him,” We know you can make it. See you when you get here.”
It was Saturday morning, the day of the wedding, and there was still no Ron! “I went to the church to let everyone know the wedding would be delayed,” Pat remembers. “We had to cancel the breakfast. The bridesmaids and groomsmen just sat around waiting for Ron to arrive.” Finally, at 3:30 on Saturday, he made it home, through more than 22 inches of snow, having been on the road (with no sleep) for three days. Lucky for Ron, the Volkswagen was loaded with booze. Whenever he got stuck, he would ask a truck driver to help him and paid them for their assistance with a bottle of liquor.
The soon-to-be newlyweds had to ask for special permission to hold the wedding during the evening, which was finally granted. “We were the first-ever couple to get married in the evening at Our Lady of Grace,” Pat says. “We were determined that the wedding would go on.” Pat remembers Ron was so tired after the wedding, that she had to drive him back to the Naval base that following Sunday. On the couple’s 25th wedding anniversary, Ron was once again in Chicago. “And there was another big snowstorm,” Pat says, laughing. “It was déjà vu all over again.”
Fifty years later, the Lockwoods are happily married, with three children and ten grandchildren. “We actually love snow!” Pat exclaims.
|Top Flint Snow Storms|
|1.||January 26-27, 1967||22.7 inches|
|2.||April 2-3, 1972||17.3 inches|
|3.||January 4-6, 2014||17.1 inches|
|4.||December 12, 2000||14 inches|
|5.||March 16-17, 1973||13.7 inches|
|6.||November 6-7,1951||19.4 inches|
|7.||February 24-25, 1965||12.9 inches|
|8.||January, 13-14, 1979||12.5 inches|
|9.||December 18-19, 1929||12.1 inches|
|10.||May 9, 1923||12.0 inches|
“When my daughter was born in 1975, it started snowing about 3pm that day. After starting labor, I said ‘I better go to the hospital.’ The snow was coming down so heavy by the time I had her at 12am, we were snowed in. Nobody could get anywhere. We had the same doctor and same nurses for three days. I had no visitors. I was all by myself, except for the doctors and nurses.”
Mary Catherine Stewart
“I remember the snowstorm of January 1967. I was eight years old and the snow was as tall as me! Everything in the city was closed! Channel 12 drove by on a snowmobile filming the storm, and we waved as they went by. My parents had to use my sled to get groceries from Hamady Brothers. I’ll never forget it.”
“I remember the 1967 snowstorm. They sent us home from school early. The next morning, my grandfather had a hard time opening the door to go out because the snow blocked it. After the snow was over, my mother put us kids on a sled and pulled us down Clio Road to the only thing open, a party store, to buy milk. There was not one car on the road.”
“During the January, 1967 snowstorm, we had a new baby who was born with heart problems and I was scared we couldn’t get her to the hospital if something started to go wrong.”
Karen Metzger Kranz
“I remember Susie Fassezke getting born in a heck of a snowstorm in 1967.”
“I agree. 1967 the WORST snowstorm.”