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Arts & Life

50 years ago, Rapid City couple reunited after harrowing flood ordeal

Rob Oliver flood image.jpg
From the book 'Surviving the '72 Flood'
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Johnny Sundby Photography
Rob Oliver was 18 years old when a catastrophic flood struck Rapid City in 1972. His father and stepmother lived just below Canyon Lake and were swept downstream by the water, in the modern-day area of Meadowbrook Golf Course.

The attached audio above is from SDPB's daily public-affairs show, In the Moment.

The 50th anniversary of the 1972 Black Hills Flood is June 9th. It’s a time to honor the 238 lives lost, and it also brings a flood of memories for survivors. Every week between now and the anniversary, In the Moment is sharing stories from those survivors, in their own words.

This week, we hear from Rob Oliver. Some listeners may recognize him as a former Sioux Falls bank executive and former president of Augustana University.

His father and stepmother, Tom and Nancy Oliver, lived just below Rapid City’s Canyon Lake in 1972. They were trying to evacuate when a flood surge swept through their neighborhood.

An SDPB documentary about the 1972 flood is in production now. Stay tuned for more information about that this spring.

Rob Oliver parents flood newspaper clipping
Rapid City Journal
A June 21, 1972, Rapid City Journal story about Tom and Nancy Oliver.