(February 6, 1929 - August 1, 1948)
The Lusk Herald
August 12, 1948
What was to have been a pleasant Sunday afternoon airplane jaunt ended in tragedy last Sunday afternoon, when the light plane of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Loren Easton, in which they were both riding, went into a tailspin and crashed into Lake Minatare, about 14 miles west of Scottsbluff, Neb., resulting in the death of Mrs. Easton, a bride of two months, who is the daughter of Rev. and Mrs. Clyde Hampton of Lusk, and serious injury to Mr. Easton, who was piloting the plane.
Up until noon Wednesday the body of Mrs. Easton had not been recovered, although member of the Scottsbluff Fire Department, volunteer boatmen and members of the Gering National Guard Anti-Tank Company have dragged the lake almost continuously.
Large fish nets were brought to Scottsbluff Tuesday from North Platte and were being used Wednesday in the search.
According to witnesses the light plane which had been rented from the airplane service, was flying over the lake at about 110 miles an hour, and the pilot was apparently engaged in practicing stalls, when the craft suddenly went into a tailspin and dived propeller first, into the water. Mr. Easton has been in such a serious condition that he has been unable to give further details. According to the rescue men he said he was practicing stalls and failed to bring the plane under control before it hit the water.
Although Mr. Easton suffered a fractured vertebrae, shoulder, leg and jaw when the plane crashed into the water, he succeeded in getting his wife out of the plane, and was keeping her afloat and making some headway by swimming toward a rescue boat, when he lost consciousness and loosened his hold. A boat, coming to their rescue, was within ten feet of the couple and while two men dragged Easton into the boat a third dived after Mrs. Easton as she sank rapidly, but was unable to reach her, although he continued to dive for some time he could find no trace of her.
It is presumed that she was either unconscious or dead from injuries received in the crash, as she was an excellent swimmer.
Witnesses state that the plane stayed afloat about two minutes, then sank from sight.
According to those familiar with Lake Minatare, the lake has a decided undertow, and the bottom is covered with brush and fallen trees so that recovery of the body is an unusually difficult task.
As soon as Rev. and Mrs. Hampton were informed of the tragedy they left immediately for the scene. Clyde Hampton, Jr., brother of Mrs. Easton, who is an expert swimmer and diver, also left immediately from Omaha, Neb., where he was engaged in athletic activities for the summer. He is a student at Columbia University. Rev. Hampton returned to Lusk Tuesday evening, but left early Wednesday morning for the scene.
Miss Betty Hampton was graduated from Lusk High School with the class of '46, and later attended George Washington University. She had been engaged in secretarial work since leaving school, and had been employed by the Ringsby Truck Line in Lusk for the past eight months, leaving here the 24th of June, as she was employed in the same capacity in the Scottsbluff office, where her husband was manager.
She was married on May 20 of this year to Robert Loran Easton, and they had made their home in Gering, Neb.
Betty was a licensed pilot in her own right, having completed her training under Frank DeCastro at the Lusk Airport.
Besides her husband she is survived by her parents, Rev. and Mrs. Clyde E. Hampton, and brother, Jerry, of Lusk; another brother, Clyde, Jr., and a sister, Mrs. Jewel McCarthy of Douglas, Wyo.
Funeral arrangements are still indefinite.
The Lusk Herald, August 12,1948
Last Rites Held Sunday for Betty Hampton Easton
The last rites for Berry Hampton Easton, 19, victim of a plane crash at Minatare Lake, near Scottsbluff, Nebr., Sunday, Aug. 1, were conducted from the Peet Chapel in Lusk Sunday afternoon, August 8.
Rev. Thompson, pastor of the Douglas Baptist Church, officiated at the service and was assisted by James Poland, student pastor of the Lusk Baptist Church.
Music was furnished by a mixed quartet composed of Rex Yocum, Donley Unruh, Mrs. I.J. Reiste and Mrs. William G. Watt, who sang "Abide With Me," "Oh, Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go,' and "Nearer to the Heart of God."
The casket bearers were members of Mrs. Easton's and her husband's families. Interment was made in the Douglas Park Cemetery.
The fatal accident which cost the life of Mrs. Easton and seriously injured her husband occurred over Lake Minatare Sunday, August 1, when the plane in which the couple was pleasure riding crashed into the lake and the body of Mrs. Easton was not recovered until the following Thursday, when a examination revealed that she had been killed in the crash.
Although seriously injured, her husband made a desperate attempt to keep his wife afloat until some men in a row boat who were coming to their rescue could reach them, but she slipped from his grasp when the boat was within 10 feet of them, and although one of the men dived many time she was unable to locate her.
Lizbeth Lois Hampton, the daughter of Rev. and Mrs. Clyde E Hampton, was born in Thermopolis, Wyo. February 6, 1929where she received her early schooling. She finished the elementary grades and began her high school in Gillette, Wyo., then moved to Lusk with her parents some five years ago. During the war she spent one year in high school in Washington, D.C. and then returned to Lusk where she graduated from the high school with the class of 1946.
After her graduation she was employed in the Lusk State Bank for a time and then went to Douglas where she was secretary in the law firm of Maurer and Garst. The past year she returned to Lusk and was bookkeeper in the office of the Ringsby Truck Line and at the time of her death she was employed in the same capacity in the Scottsbluff office.
She was baptized by her father in the Baptist Church at the age of 7 and at the time of her death was a member of the Douglas baptist Church.
She was married to Robert Loren Easton at Taos N.M. May 30 1948. Mr. Easton was a pilot in the Army Air Corps during World War II and is now manager of the Ringsby Truck Line office at Scottsbluff, Nebr.
Mr. Easton is a patient in the Scottsbluff hospital and was unable to attend the services.
Besides her husband and parents, surviving her are a sister, Mrs. Jewel McCarty of Douglas, a brother, Clyde, Jr., who is spending the summer in Omaha, Nebr., and another brother, Jerry, of Lusk.
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