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Josephine Kulp Gilman
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Birth: Mar. 27, 1927
Burlington
Des Moines County
Iowa, USA
Death: Jun. 20, 1967
Middletown
Des Moines County
Iowa, USA

The Burlington Hawk-Eye, front page, June 23, 1967; Burlington, Des Moines County, Iowa:

Middletown (IA) -- An investigating team was headed here Friday to determine cause of an explosion Thursday night that killed four women and injured three others at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant.

Killed outright in the blast, occurring at 10:50 on Line 9 in the IAAP component area, were:

--Mrs. Ida Joyce Koett, 37, of West Burlington Route 3.

--Mrs. Josephine Gilman, 40, of Ft. Madison Route 1, a sister of Mrs. Koett.

--Mrs. Dorothy Groves, 51, of Montrose.

Injuries proved fatal late Friday morning in Burlington hospital to Mrs. Mary Koester, 37, of Ft. Madison.

Transferred to Iowa City for long-range intensive treatment for burns were:

--Mrs. Patricia Elrod, 23, of New London.

--Mrs. Denise Ann Chenoweth, 23, of Macomb, Illinois.

Mrs Agnes Schulz, 55, of 623 South Central, remained in fair condition at Burlington hospital Friday afternoon.

The women, all long-time IAAP employees, were the only persons in a 20 by 40-foot operating bay when the explosion occurred. IAAP officials told The Hawk-Eye.

Cause of the blast, they added, is to be determined by a 5-member team from the Ammunition Procurement & Supply Agency at Joliet, Illinois, headed by Lt. Col. R. P. Larned.

Mrs. Koett was pronounced dead on arrival at Burlington hospital. The bodies of Mrs. Oilman and Mrs. Groves were found later in the damaged bay. All were production operators employed by Mason & Hanger-Silas Mason Company, IAAP operating contractors.

Injured Burned Badly

The injured women suffered extensive burns and other injuries. Mrs. Schulz is a government inspector; Mrs. Koester was a production operator; Mrs. Elrod and Mrs. Chenoweth are Mason & Hanger inspectors.

Major Frank O. Munn, commanding officer, and Dwight Heffelbower, plant manager for Mason & Hanger, said the explosion occurred during a "classified" production operation involving conventional explosives. They would not comment on the nature of work being performed, but stressed that no radioactive materials were involved.

The roof was torn from the bay and wall covering was shattered, but the building suffered little structural damage. "The structure did what it was designed to do in containing the explosion," Heffelbower remarked.

Heffelbower, at home in the IAAP area when the blast occurred, said it could be heard throughout the reservation.

When word was received of the explosion, staffs at Burlington and Mercy hospitals were placed on an emergency basis. Police and highway patrolmen provided escort for IAAP ambulances en route to Burlington hospital. Sheriff's officers aided other law enforcement men in closing traffic along US 34 between Middletown and Burlington, seven miles away.

Six doctors and from 20 lo 25 nurses, plus laboratory workers and X-ray technicians, were on hand at the hospital. Nurses from the 3 to 11 p.m. shift remained on duty to aid in emergency treatment.

Also on hand were Paul Reiser, hospital administrator, and Charles Denniston, his assistant. Four doctors were summoned to Mercy hospital, although none of the injured were taken there.

Six nursing sisters were aroused from sleep and other members of the Mercy hospital staff stood by. A Mercy hospital spokesman said the staff was unhappy that it was not used in the emergency.

'Things Clicked'

Keiser said "things clicked" in describing how the emergency care and law enforcement men swung into action. Heffelbower lauded IAAP security personnel for "doing real well" during the emergency. Munn said Line 9 operations are likely to be resumed next week. The investigating board, he reported, will consist of military and civilian personnel working with IAAP safety and management officials.

Fire damage to the building was "minimal," Heffelbower said. Damage to the structure was estimated at $15,000.

Congressman Fred Schwengel today expressed his sympathies to the families of the killed and injured, and assured them of help from his office. (See story page 10.)

The fatal blast was the first at the IAAP since July 1, 1960, when Mrs. Donna Etter of Wapello died of injuries. That explosion occurred in a different building, IAAP officials noted.

Last December, Line 9 was plagued by a series of illnesses affecting production operators. The condition was corrected following measures by IAAP personnel.


***

The Burlington Hawk-Eye, page 12, June 23, 1967; Burlington, Des Moines County, Iowa:

Double Rites For Sisters

Double services for Mrs. Ida Joyce Koett and Mrs. Josephine Gilman, sisters, who died in the IAAP explosion Thursday (June 22, 1967) at 10:50 p.m. will be Monday at 1:30 p.m. at the Elliott-Lunning chapel, Reverend John Ziegler; Memorial Park cemetery.

Mrs. Koett, 37, of West Burlington Route 3, was born January 6, 1930, in Burlington. She was a member of the West Avenue Baptist church.

Mrs. Gilman, 40, of Ft. Madison, Route 1, was born March 2, 1927, in Burlington.

Both were daughters of George Perry and Gertrude Schmidt Kulp of West Burlington Route 3. Mrs. Gilman married Thomas Gilman, December 21, 1946, in Burlington. She was a member of the Ft. Madison First Baptist church.

Surviving Mrs. Koett: A daughter and son, Sandra Lynn and David, at home.

Surviving Mrs. Gilman: Her husband; five children, Mrs. Patricia Calhoun and Thomas Jr., of Ft. Madison, Keith, Steven, and Daniel, at home; and a grandchild.

Surviving of both: The parents, a sister, Audrey of Burlington; and two brothers, Roy of Versailles, Missouri, and Donald of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  George Perry Kulp (1896 - 1986)
  Gertrude Evelyn Schmidt Kulp (1905 - 1986)
 
 Spouse:
  Thomas E Gilman (1923 - 1988)
 
 Siblings:
  Roy George Kulp (1924 - 1998)*
  Josephine Kulp Gilman (1927 - 1967)
  Ida Joyce Kulp Koett (1930 - 1967)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Burlington Memorial Park
Burlington
Des Moines County
Iowa, USA
Plot: Garden: Hillcrest; Lot: 69; Space: 2
 
Created by: DW Brumm
Record added: Nov 13, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 100649440
Josephine <i>Kulp</i> Gilman
Cemetery Photo
Added by: dirk bailey
 
 
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