Kentucky Grandma, 82, Rushes to Daughter’s Home in Hopes of Escaping Flood, Loses Her Life There

Nellie Mae Howard is the great aunt of Perry County Sheriff Joe Engle, and the first person he had to notify of a flood fatality was his mom, Mary Engle, who was close to Howard.

Mary’s heart fell when he told her Howard, her beloved aunt, had died in the storm. Howard, as per Joe, was the sister of his grandpa, Perry County Pastor Marion Estep, who was killed in an unsolved murder in 2008.

Nellie Mae Howard was regarded as a devout Christian who never stopped talking about God. Angel Campbell, Howard’s granddaughter, stated that she spoke about God every moment you were around her.

Aside from God, she enjoyed flowers, cooking, and spending time with her family. She had a tiny flower garden in her yard where she spent a lot of time, and she made gravy every day as soon as she got up. Howard, according to Angel, was genuinely dedicated to family and was constantly concerned about others.

Howard was always afraid of storms while she was alive, but her daughter, Patricia Collins, lived not far away. Howard, according to Angel, would hurry to Patricia’s home in Chavies whenever it rained.

It had been a habit for her, and she felt it was always safe. As a result, when the Kentucky flood arrived last month, Howard sought refuge at Patricia’s home alongside Patricia and her boyfriend, Ben Crase.

During floods, the region around Patricia’s house was normally unaffected. Howard and her daughter thought they’d be safe, but reality had other ideas.

They were gathered in the living room on that Thursday when the water came in. Patricia quickly hopped upon a kitchen table, then went to Howard and requested her to join her.

Howard was swept away in the flood water as soon as Patricia said the words, and the table she was seated on was overturned. Ben, her boyfriend, attempted to approach her, however the current was too strong.

It tore them apart, leaving each of them struggling for their lives in the dark. Patricia admitted to Angel that she had no clue how she got out of her house in time to be rescued.

She recalls bobbing in and out of the water for hours until she understood she required something to keep her balance. Patricia may have drowned if a sectional couch hadn’t snagged her against a neighbor’s house.

Their house had been moving down the road alongside other residences, and collisions were common. Patricia spent over two hours in the water after it ceased drifting, fighting for her life as debris accumulated on her.

It took nearly two hours for her neighbors to dig her out, but she escaped with only injuries and lacerations.

Angel, Patricia’s daughter, received a Facebook post reporting water had swamped the region where her mother lived about 1 a.m. on Thursday. In the hours that followed, she learned that her mother had survived the experience with injuries and lacerations.

Later that day, Angel posted on Facebook about what had occurred to her mom. She also showed thankfulness for avoiding losing both Howard and her mother on the same day. Her grandmother’s body was discovered the next day.

When a search party discovered her body, her grandson, Chris Collins, took her and searched for a pulse despite knowing he would not find one. He cleaned the muck from her face and then stood by her side for hours until a rescue boat arrived.

Patricia and her family discovered Howard’s diaries in the aftermath of everything, and inside its pages, they discovered an entry that provided them solace. Her precise handwriting was used to write the words to a Gaither Vocal Band tune. It said she’ll be at peace when her eyes sleep in death with her Jesus. Then one’ll know she is happy.

They can only pray that Howard is content to be in God’s arms. On July 29, Angel posted on Facebook that they were getting ready to bury Howard.

See the area near the house that lumber on the left, that car on the right, my mommy was down in there! That couch…

Posted by Angel Campbell on Saturday, 30 July 2022

She claimed that she had pushed Howard to move in with her for years, yet Howard would always tell her that she wanted to die in the same spot her husband had died. Angel prayed for strength as she searched through the rubble for some of her grandmother’s belongings.

It’s a very awful event, and Nellie Mae Howard was only the beginning of many. Four children and more than three elderly individuals were discovered deceased in the days after her discovery. Our sympathies go out to those who have lost lives, property, or both as a result of the natural tragedy.


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