Fate of tornado ravage historic church undecided - | WBTV Charlotte

Fate of tornado ravage historic church undecided


Members of St. Marys in DeMossville are grieving the loss of the nearly century old catholic church. The church was destroyed by a tornado when severe weather moved through the tri-state at the first of the month. 

The church, which members say was built in 1914 after the former church burned down, was only opened for services during the summer months.

Jeff Huffman, a lifelong member, rode the storm out in his basement with his family.

"That was a pretty good ride," Huffman said. "When it blew the doors open on us and that hail blew in, it was scary. All we could hear was stuff ripping... I thought my house was gone."

The siding and roof were damaged on Huffman's house, but it was the property across the lawn that caught his eye after the storm.

"That church is a landmark up here and that's the first place I looked at when I come out of the basement," he said.

There was not much left to see, however.

"It was in a pile," Huffman stated.

For the congregation, St. Mary's was much more than a building.

"We went to church up there all of our lives; first communions, and catechism, my family's buried up there," Huffman said.  "This old church up there was family."

Huffman's family plots dot the top of the hill where the church used to stand.

"This is our church," he said. "St Matthews, it's nice down there but our heart's here."

With no electricity, church member Rita Funke says they would run fans off electrical cords from the house next door and keep paper fans handy when the church was open in the hot summer months.

"We just came in the building and just opened up the windows," Funke said. "If it was pouring down rain we had to close them a little bit."

"Now it's gone and I hope they build it back," Huffman said.

"We won't have it again the same as it was," Funke explained. "We may build up here again but we don't know."

Church members say the final decision on the fate of the church is now in the hands of the bishop.

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