John William Thies



(April 1, 1906 - June 22, 1952)


The Lusk Herald
June 26, 1952


John Thies, Raymond Hoy Killed in Plane Crash Sunday

Two local ranchers, John Thies, 46, and Raymond Hoy, 32, were instantly killed Sunday morning about 8:00 o'clock when the light plane in which they were hunting coyotes crashed about two miles east and north of Jay Em. No one saw the crash occur.

Funeral services for Mr. Thies were being held from the Peet Mortuary this Wednesday morning at 10:00. Burial is being made at Ogallala, Nebr., his former home. Hoy services were being held at 3:00 the same afternoon with burial to be in the Lusk cemetery. the Rev. Jacob Nein, Congregational pastor, was officiating.

The two had left from the Thies ranch 14 miles south of Lusk about 7:00 that morning to hunt over the area where they had dug out a den of coyotes the preceding day. Sheep men in that area have been suffering losses from the coyotes.

It was not until toward noon that the accident was discovered by the wives of the two men. When the men had not returned the women presumed they had landed to continue digging for the animals. Mrs. Hoy and daughter Jo Ann, 10, picked up Mrs. Thies to drive Hoy's pickup truck to the site. Harry Thies, 19-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Thies, directed the women where to go, but he was ill with measles and stayed home.

On taking the road east from Jay Em Mrs. Thies caught a glimpse of the upright tail of the plane over a mile from the road and realized it had crashed. The women were able to drive within about a quarter mile of the plane and Mrs. Theis walked over alone to investigate. The women then went to the Reuben Hahn ranch a short distance away to get help. While Mr. Hahn took the women to Jay Em to call Lusk, Mr. Hahn's son remained on the highway to direct officers and the ambulance.

CRASHED ON KNOLL
The plane had crashed on a knoll but was not quite visible from the Hahn ranch. It was 3:30 in the afternoon before the bodies were gotten from the wreckage. Patrolman M. S. Jordan had taken Dr. Walter E. Reckling to the scene and enroute contacted the patrolman at Torrington, who stood by to notify authorities there of what was needed. The crash was in Goshen County.

The men were flying a 65-H.P. Piper J-3 with Mr. Hoy riding in the front seat where he could shoot out of the side windows with a 12-guage shotgun.

An investigation is to be made by the Civil Aeronautics Administration but as yet no report of the cause has been received. The two large men were a heavy load for the plane and local fliers believe it may have stalled out. The plane crashed at an angle and the front was badly damaged. Both men were badly crushed and are believed to have died instantly.

Mr. Thies was an experienced pilot having logged over 2,000 hours in the air, and used his plane much in ranch operation. He and Mrs. Thies escaped in a crash at Ogallala about nine years ago when their plane landed in Lake McConaughey, but neither lost enthusiasm for flying.

THIES BORN IN NEBRASKA
John William Thies was born in Ogallala, Nebr., April 1, 1906 the son of Michael and Susan Thies. He grew to manhood in the North Platte River valley nine miles north of Ogallala which is now the great lake of Nebraska.

He attended high school in Ogallala and attended one year at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln before becoming associated with his father on the ranch in 1932. He was married to Mae Richter July 31, 1932 at Ogallala, and the following year their only son, Harry, 19, was born.

The family lived on the fine ranch left to him by his parents until 10 years ago when the Kingsley Dam was built and the entire valley of people had to move out.

He moved his house and family to Ogallala where they lived for six years while he continued with his ranching. Meanwhile he also became interested in flying.

Four years ago the family moved to Wyoming to lease the ranch of the late Walter Rymill south of Lusk. Mrs. Rymill is a cousin of Mr. Thies. Continuing with the widely-known Rymill stock, Mr. Thies has continued to build a fine registered herd of Hereford cattle. He was a member of the Nebraska Cattlemen's Association, the Wyoming Hereford Assocation and of the Central Hereford Association, of which he was vice president.

Always a man of numerous community interest, he served on the school board in Nebr., was president of the Weather Research Organization in Goshen County, was a charter member of the Lusk B.P.O. Elks Lodge, and now serving as esteemed leading knight. His great love was flying and it was natural that he, Mrs. Thies and their son, also a pilot, would become associatiod with the Civil Air Patrol when it was organized in Lusk, January, 1950.

Mr. Thies was promoted from private to 2nd Lt. and operations officer of the Lusk squad of CAP in Dec., 1950, a position he held at the time of his death. He was promoted to rank of major in March, 1951 and named commander of Group No. 6 which composes units of Lusk, Douglas, Wheatland, Newcastle, Gillette and Sheridan.

He attended state and regional meetings in his capacity at Washington, D. C., and Tucson, Ariz., participated in several search and rescue missions, training sessions and in Civil Defense spotter flying.

It was with his flying ability that he was attempting to help his neighbors kill coyotes when he came to his death.

Surviving are his wife and son, Harry and a sister, Ruth Davis of Los Angeles, Calif. His parents previously died.

HOY IS LOCAL MAN
Robert Raymond Hoy was the son of Mr. and Mrs. James S. Hoy, owners and operators of the Lusk Cold Storage and residents here for many years. He was born Sept. 5, 1919 at Lusk, attended the Rawhide country school near the family ranch and then came to Lusk High School, graduating in 1938. In high school he was an outstanding athlete, playing both basketball and football.

He has been employed by his father as a butcher at the Lusk Cold Storage while carrying on ranch activities. He has leased the old Porter Ranch south of Lusk for the past nine years.

He married Ione Alter Oct. 23, 1941 and they have one daughter, Jo Ann, 10.

Mr. Hoy was a member of the Elks Lodge and the Niobrara County Farm Bureau.

Surviving besides his wife and daughter and parents, are two brothers, James Edward of Moore Springs and Donald of Casper.


Thon Book No.3
From Lusk Free Lance
June 26. 1952

John W. Thies and Raymond Hoy Instantly Killed Sunday When Craft's Wing Clips Side of Hill


Two prominent ranchers of this vicinity, John W. Thies, pilot, and Raymond Hoy, his companion on an aerial coyote hunting expedition, met instant death about 8 o'clock last Sunday morning when the Thies plane, supposedly flying low, crashed on the side of a hill about two miles northeast of Jay Em, and some 22 miles southeast of this city. The men were making a flight similar to numerous others they had flown in recent weeks, hoping to kill off coyotes which had been attacking sheep herds of that vicinity.

They had left the Thies ranch around 7:30 a.m. and apparently had had no sign of engine trouble or other plane trouble on the takeoff. Mrs. Thies and Mrs. Hoy had remained at the ranch, expecting the hunters to return within and hour or a little more. As time passed Mrs. Thies became uneasy, and at 11:30 both decided to go in search of the overdue plane and the two men. Taking a pickup, they started in the direction of the area where they had been hunting on several occasions. The terrain in that locality is rugged and irregularly set with hills and draws, and it was while they were in one of the latter that the crash occurred.

After searching for more than an hour, the women spotted the wrecked craft from some distance, realizing from the appearance of the scene that something terrible had happened. Mrs. Thies left the pickup and walked to the plane, its right wing shattered and prone on the ground, while the left wing and tail stood high in the air. The fuselage was a heap of wreckage. Reaching the spot, she saw the bodies doubled up inside the cabin and motionless. She knew they were both dead.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Hoy had started for the Reuben Hahn ranch home about a mile and a half toward the east, where she told Hahn of the accident. He immediately got in touch with local authorities, and they in turn called Dr. W. E. Reckling, and Niobrara County Coroner, George Earl Peet. News of the crash had not reached here until almost 1:00 p.m. The Peet ambulance was sent to the scene, and Dr. Reckling and State Highway Patrolman followed shortly. Reaching the crash cite, the physician examined the bodies and declared both men had died instantly when the plane nosed into the ground.

Considerable difficulty was encountered in removing the remains from the wreckage, because of the entanglement of the instrument panel and entire fuselage with the bodies. Finally extricated, the investigators awaited the arrival of Goshen County Coroner Oliver Colyer, who had been notified since the accident was in that county. Upon his arrival a conference was held with relatives of the deceased and it was decided to bring the bodies to this city. Both had been horribly mangled by the impact of the plane and its partial collapse.

The plane was a Piper Cub single seater, two-place craft owned by Thies. State Aeronautics Director George Nelson and civil aeronautics officials began an investigation as to the cause of the crash Monday, but their findings have not been made public. It is presumed by those who were first to investigate the crash scene, that the plane was flying low and that the shattered wing had struck the hillside only a few feet distant from where the craft nosed into the hillside. Several theories regarding the accident have been advanced, but most accepted is that which indicated that the ship had been caught in a down-draft and that Thies had been unable to pull it out of that predicament.

Thies was regarded as an expert pilot, and had been flying for more than 10 years. He had been associated with the Lusk Civil Air Patrol since it was organized and had been promoted to the rank of major. For over a year he had been commander of the northeast Wyoming group of the CAP.

Hoy had often accompanied the flying rancher on his coyote hunting missions, and together they had killed off a large number of the predatory nuisances.

Thies' only son, Harry, also a pilot, had been taken ill with the measles that morning, and was unable to accompany his mother and Mrs. Hoy on the search for the plane. He was brought to Lusk by Highway Patrolman Jordan and Dr. Reckling, after learning of the tragic accident and death of his father, and placed in the Spencer hospital for care.

Thies Services Held Wednesday Morning
Funeral services for John W. Thies were held from the Peet mortuary at 10:00 o'clock Wednesday morning, June 25th. Rev. Jacob Nein, pastor of the Congregational-Christian church officiating, and with ritualistic rites of the B.P.O. Elks conferred by members of the Lusk lodge. Mr. Thies was a charter member of the Lusk Elks Lodge and was at the time of his death serving as esteemed leading knight.

During the chapel services the songs "We Are Going Down The Valley" and "Beyond The Sunset" were sung by Mrs. Abdon DeCastro and Mrs. Emerson Bonner, Miss Alice Fowler accompanying at the chapel organ.

The remains of the plane crash victim were taken from here to Ogallala, Nebr. his former home, where final rites and interment took place Wednesday afternoon. Members of the Ogallala Elks lodge performed honors at the cemetery in that city.

Casket bearers for the services were Roger E. Cowell, Charles Vaughan, Joe Waggoner, Robert Scott and Leslie Huff of this community and "Red" Hardesty of Torrington.

Members of the Lusk Elks lodge, the Does, and the Lusk Civil Air Patrol attended in a body the services conducted here.

OBITUARY
John William Thies was born in Ogallala, Nebr., April 1, 1906, the son of Michael and Susan Thies. He grew to manhood in the North Platte Valley nine miles north of Ogallala which is now the great lake of Nebraska.

He attended high school in Ogallala and attended one year at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Nebr., before becoming associated with his father on the ranch in 1932. He was married to Mae Richter July 31, 1932 at Ogallala, and the following year their only son, Harry, 19, was born.

The family lived on the fine ranch left to him by his parents, until 10 years ago when the Kingsley Dam was built and the entire valley of people had to move out. He moved his house and family to Ogallala where they lived for six years while he continued with his ranching. Meanwhile he also became interested in flying.

Four years ago the family moved to Wyoming to lease the ranch of the late Walter Rymill south of Lusk. Mrs. Rymill is a cousin of Mr. Thies. Continuing with the widely-known Rymill stock, Mr. Thies has continued to build a fine registered herd of Hereford cattle. He was a member of the Nebraska Cattlemen's association, the Wyoming Hereford association and the Central Hereford association, of which he was vice president.

Always a man of numerous community interests, he served on the school board in Nebraska, was president of the Weather Research Organization in Goshen County, was a charter member of the Lusk B.P.O. Elks lodge and serving as esteemed leading knight. His great love was flying and it was natural that he, Mrs. Thies and their son, also a pilot, would become associated with the Civil Air Patrol when it was organized in Lusk. Mr. Thies was promoted to the rank of major in the CAP and for more than a year has been commander of the northeast Wyoming group which includes Sheridan, Gillette, Newcastle and Lusk, and made frequent trips to those units. In his CAP capacity he made a trip to Washington, D. C. last year and to a regional meeting at Tuscon, Ariz. In fact, Mr. Thies came to his death as he was attempting to help neighbors kill off coyotes that had been attacking herds of sheep.

In a few years he had lived in this area, Mr. Thies had gained a wide number of acquaintances and deep friendships. He was known as a devoted husband and father.

Surviving are his wife and son, Harry. and a sister. Ruth Davis of Los Angeles, Calif.



The Lusk Herald
July 3, 1952
Many Attend Thies And Hoy Funeral Services Wed.


Large numbers of neighbors and friends crowded the Peet Mortuary to capacity last Wednesday to attend the funeral services of John Thies and Raymond Hoy who were killed June 22 in an airplane crash.

The Thies services were held at 10:00 in the morning with Rev. Jacob Nein, pastor of the Lusk Congregational Church officiating. Music was by Mrs. A. F. DeCastro and Mrs. Emerson Bonner, accompanied by Miss Alice Fowler, organist. Songs used were: "Going Down the Valley," and "Beyond the Sunset." Ritualistic rites were performed by the Lusk B.P.O. Elks Lodge, and members of the Elks, Does and Civil Air Patrol Cadets attended in a body.

Casketbearers were Roger Cowell, Charles Vaughan, Joe Waggoner, Robert Scott, Leslie Huff and "Red" Hardesty of Torrington.

Following services here the body was taken to Ogallala, Nebr., for burial and the Ogallala Elks lodge performed graveside services there.

Relatives and friends coming here for the services included Mrs. Walt Rymill and son Lorrain Rymill of Boulder, Colo., Mrs. Shirley Rymill Blake of Seattle, all cousins; Mrs. John Davis, a sister, and Mr. Davis of Los Angeles; Charles Richter, Lewellen, Nebr., father of Mrs. Thies, and Mr. and Mrs. Robert McCormick and son, Charles of Lewellen, friends of the family.

Mrs. Thies, her son, Harry and Mr. Richter returned to the ranch south of Lusk Thursday. Mr. Richter will remain here for a time to assist with the ranch.

HOY SERVICES AFTERNOON
The Hoy services were held in the afternoon with the Rev. Nein officiating. Music was provided by Mrs. DeCastro and Mrs. Bonner, singing "In the Garden," and "God Will Take Care of You," Donald Keys played the chapel organ.

Members of the B.P.O. Elks Lodge performed graveside services with burial being made in the Lusk cemetery. Casketbearers were Robert Wolfe, Max Robinette, Temple Barnette, Bing Barr, Otto Vondra and Roger Cowell.

A brother, Donald, and his wife and baby were here for the services.

Not mentioned last week in the story of Mr. Hoy's life was the fact that he had served two terms on the District No. 6 school board of Goshen county and was a charter member of the widely-known Jay Em Rifle Club which has won two championships in the Platte Valley.




Related Genealogy Entries: 'John William Thies'

Robert Raymond Hoy (September 5, 1919 - June 22, 1952)


Related Historical Entries: 'John William Thies'

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