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Published September 09, 2009, 09:12 AM

Mother of 6 children lost in 1957 tornado has passed away

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - A final chapter has been written tonight in one of Fargo’s biggest tragedies, the 1957 tornado. That historic storm killed 13 people, including the six Munson children. The mother, Mercedes Erickson, passed away over Labor Day weekend. She was 88.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - A final chapter has been written tonight in one of Fargo’s biggest tragedies, the 1957 tornado. That historic storm killed 13 people, including the six Munson children. The mother, Mercedes Erickson, passed away over Labor Day weekend. She was 88.

As she described in a wday story two years ago, the pain and emotion from that loss stuck with her forever, the story tonight from WDAY 6 Reporter Kevin Wallevand.

Mrs. Munson was working in downtown Fargo at the time the tornado struck. The June tornado in 1957 leveled more than a thousand homes in Fargo-Moorhead, the north side, devastated.

Nothing remained of the Munson home. When rescuers came upon the Munson home, indescribable tragedy, 6 brothers and sisters lost. She was crying “mother I think it is going to hit. It is going to hit mother.”

In her first and only interview following the 57 tornado, Mercedes Erickson told us two years ago the loss of her six children cost her emotionally and mentally for years.

“Nobody else sees them except me. I went back and identified them and I went down and had to the hospital.”

Today, her close friends including a brother in law in Audubon recalled a caring compassionate woman whose loss. She did not have any easy life because at every turn she would think of the kids.

“She was an amazing woman and the stories she told she talked to me a lot about the children.”

She loved them all, Phyllis, Darwin, Bradley, Jeanette, Loisann, Mary, Beth. One survived the deadly tornado, Leroy.

“In all the years following that deadly tornado, Mercedes never missed a decoration day. Coming out here on Memorial Day weekend to place flowers on the graves of her six children. It is unclear who will do that now that the mother who spent a half century grieving her loss, has now joined her children.

The funeral for Mercedes will be held in Audubon next Monday. Her surviving son, Leroy, who was babysitting down the block at the time of the tornado, will be there.

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