Clem Schultz was sure the tornado weather forecasters were warning about was going to miss him, but he knew based on experience his Fairdale home would lose electricity. So he went to an upstairs bedroom to get camping lanterns he and his wife, Geri, would surely be using early on the evening of April 9 last year.
He looked out a window and spotted a tornado to the west. He speculated it would stay south of his community, population around 150, about 19 miles northwest of DeKalb. He decided to record its passage on his cellphone camera.
But that black monster had other intentions, hopping the railroad tracks a block away.
There was no time for the 85-year-old to hurry back downstairs to the kitchen where Geri was. There was no point in getting in the cellar, which was basically a hole barely big enough to hold their furnace.
In an instant the tornado passed right through -- literally -- his house. Schultz rode the debris from the collapsing chimney down, losing his grip on the phone, getting entangled in a bedsheet, and becoming buried.
Moments later a neighbor was digging him out of the rubble. Schultz was out and standing within four minutes. The neighbor sat him down on one of the house's beams, but told him, "Don't look down."
"Why?" Schultz asked.
"Because your wife is right under you. She's dead."