Man Recalls Terrifying Tornado that Took his Wife's Life

The tornado on April 9, 2015, killed Clem Schultz's wife, Geri.

ByABC News
April 4, 2016, 5:33 PM

— -- Cell phone video captured a terrifying tornado that swept through an elderly man's home last year, killing his beloved wife of nearly 25 years.

On April 9, 2015, Clem Schultz was at his home in Fairdale, Illinois, with his wife, Geraldine, known as Geri.

"We just finished supper," Schultz, 85, told ABC News. "My wife called me in the kitchen. She said, 'Look out the window.' And sure enough I looked out -- we see this big, ugly tornado coming."

"It looked like it was going to miss us," he said.

Geri stayed in the kitchen while he went upstairs to get some lanterns.

As the loud tornado loomed, Schultz decided to start recording cell phone video.

The video shows the tornado move closer and the sky darken, before the picture goes black.

"Up until the time the house started moving, it still looked to me like it was going to go to the west -- and miss us," he said. "Suddenly, I realized I was wrong.

"I was standing next to the chimney when the whole place went down," Shultz said.

The chimney fell on top of him; he remembers he was buried in a pile of rubble.

"All of a sudden it kind of got quiet," Schultz continued. "'I asked myself 'Are you dead?' But then I said, 'No you can't hurt when you're dead,' and I hurt."

He said he later learned he had a crushed vertebrae.

As several people helped Schultz dig his way out, he said one of them told him, "'Don't look down because your wife is under you -- and she's dead.'"

He looked for her pulse, but couldn't find it.

Schultz said he and Geri would have been married 25 years last June. This Saturday will mark the one-year anniversary of her death; a ceremony will be held and a plaque dedicated in a local park to honor Geri and her friend, who also died in the tornado.