By Brian Nelson
Nov. 15, 1959. Beverly Clutter is summoned from church, informed of the worst and then driven home to Finney County. She will be attending the funeral of her parents, younger sister and brother.
Beverly attended Southwestern for two years, and then transferred as a student in medical technology to the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City. On the weekend of Nov. 15, she was enjoying Southwestern College homecoming activities with her boyfriend, and soon-to-be husband, Vere English.
Her older sister, Eveanna, was also informed of the worst. She and her husband, Don Jarchow, and son, Tracy Lee, immediately left their home in Mount Carmel, Ill., and headed for southwest Kansas.
The nightmare the two sisters endured has been immortalized by one phrase. In cold blood. Their family was left in cold blood. The phrase became the title of Truman Capote’s book, based on the occurrence in the last place anyone would expect, Holcomb Kansas.
“In Cold Blood” is about the murders, the murderers and how the small communities of Holcomb and Garden City dealt with it. Several movies spawned from the book and only embedded the events deeper into their tomb.
Yet a major detail was left out. The four people who lost their lives. Herb, Bonnie, Nancy and Kenyon Clutter. To the nation, they were victims. Nothing more. To Finney County they were friends, church goers and active members of the community.
Sept. 12, 2009. Nearly 50 years later, a memorial is finally dedicated in memory of the Clutters. The community decided it was time for a proper memorial, which was not needed before. Herb, Bonnie, Nancy and Kenyon’s memory lived among the community.
Over the last 50 years that community has begun to fade. There are fewer people who remember, and that is why Bobby Rupp, Nancy’s boyfriend at the time, found the 50 year reminder as the perfect time to build a memorial, so that people would see it in years to come and know who the Clutters were and how important they were to the community. Nearly $23,000 was donated to fund the project.
Beverly and Eveanna wanted their family’s lives to be remembered, not their deaths. And now anyone traveling through the small village of Holcomb will see more than eerie tunnel of trees leading to a tragic farm house. Travelers will come across the community park where a monument is always lit and the grass continues to grow.
Brian Nelson is a senior majoring in English. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.