I was reading an article about the victims of Ike in Galveston, those that died. This is a clip from an article about one woman who stayed. She realized too late she had made the wrong decision; a thought she relayed in a phone call to a friend when the water was lapping around her feet. Too me that has just got to be the most horrible way to die: alone by the ocean where the likeihood that you will be washed out to sea is so great and that your reamins would never be found. So sad...
"Gail Ettenger stumbled upon her house in Gilchrist by accident. But once she saw the site on the bay side of Bolivar Peninsula, she knew she would never leave.
Ettenger, a native of New Jersey, instilled the house with her own energy and style. The 58-year-old's garden bloomed with vibrant birds-of-paradise.
And Reba, an 11-year-old Great Dane hobbled by arthritis, was her baby. Ettenger loved to treat the dog to dinners of chicken and roast beef, recalled JoAnne Burks, Ettenger's neighbor and close friend.
Ettenger, a chemist at ExxonMobil, didn't evacuate, reasoning that her house had weathered Hurricane Rita in 2005 without a problem. She also did not want to leave Reba, who could no longer climb into Ettenger's Jeep.
Burks and her husband pleaded with Ettenger to change her mind. But she insisted.
Hours before Ike made landfall, Ettenger knew she had made the wrong choice. She called Burks and described the water pushing up under her feet, the propane tanks and other household items drifting by her windows, and wondered which would float better: her Jeep or her house.
Her voice was shaky with fear, Burks said.
Burks spent the next 10 days searching for her friend, calling local, county and state officials without success. She tried the American Red Cross, FEMA, even private investigators.
"I didn't want her to wind up like the victims of Katrina, who were never found or identified," Burks said.
Ettenger's body was found Sept. 23, tossed on a debris field in a Chambers County marsh about 10 miles from her house.
Amid the muck and remnants of homes, Burks found a pink leather collar. The name Reba was spelled out in rhinestones."