Another tragic accident resulted in the loss of a Protection boy Sunday evening when Joe, 11 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. George Percifield, was suffocated in a sand bank cave-in.
Butch Price, son of Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Price, was also buried in the cave-in but was revived by his father. Besides his father, Butch probably owes his life to his little dog. Hiram did not know where the boys were buried but when he asked the dog where Butch was the dog ran to the cliff and began licking Butch's hand which was all that was showing above the sand. Lloyd Hopkins, son of Mr. and Mrs. Tommy Hopkins, was one of the trio of boys playing together but was not in the cave-in.
The accident occurred southeast of the railroad bridge which crosses Kiowa Creek east of town. The creek through the years has eroded into the big sand hill and left a little sandy beach and nearly perpendicular cliff which has become a playground for a number of Protection youngsters during low water stages.
Other boys, besides the three mentioned above, had been playing around the cliff Sunday afternoon soaking up the warm air, jumping into the sand and sliding down the cliff - but had gone home leaving Joe, Butch and Lloyd.
The boys dug a shallow pit and cave combination into the side of the cliff. From all indications the cave did not undermine the cliff more than a few inches but the fine, densely packed sand caved in on Joe and Butch. Lloyd tried to dig them out but could not get more than their heads uncovered when another cave in would occur. Realizing the impossibility of freeing the boys, Lloyd ran to town to summon help and met the fathers of the two buried boys who were out looking for their sons.
Hiram was the first to arrive on the scene and after finding the cave-in freed his son's unconscious body, carried Butch to the creek where he washed some of the sand out of his face, then induced respiration by breathing into Butch's mouth.
Mr. Percifield had trouble freeing Joe's body as the sand continued to cave. He called to Hiram for help and the two succeeded in freeing Joe. By this time Lloyd had called Dr. Glenn and he, J. D. Rowland and Dennis Atkeson arrived with the resuscitator. They worked over Joe more than a half hour to no avail.
Funeral services for Joe were held at the Baptist Church Thursday afternoon. The Reverends Irons, Oyer and Williamson had charge of the rites.
Music was given by high school students Jim Glenn, Jim Keasling, Jarold Hopkins and Gary Condra, Mrs. Lewis Hopkins was at the piano.
Casket bearers were W. W. Girk, Jick Davis, Tommy Hopkins and Walter Christopher.
Interment was in the Protection cemetery.
Allen Joe Percifield, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Percifiled, was born in Douglas County, Missouri, August 24, 1944. When he was three years old he moved to Protection with his parents. He started to school at the age of six, and was in the 6th grade when he departed this life.
Death came accidentally to Joe on April 22, 1956 as he and his friends were playing. He was 11 years, 8 months and 24 days old. Joe was happy, loving and kind to his family and a place is left vacant that never can be filled.
He is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Percifield; six sisters and one brother; Mrs. Robert Tucker of Greensburg, Kans., Mrs., Johnnie McCoy of Kinsley, Kans., Paul of Ft. Riley, Kans., Betty, Anna Lea, Connie and Judy, still at home; and a host of friends and relatives.
Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!
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