Finding My Father Book Tour News

(Most recent listed first)

July 18 - July 27, 2022

Finding My Father and author Marian Poeppelmeyer went on the road to where the story began the night of November 1, 1955, to Weld County, Denver, Colorado.

In ten days, Marian spoke at 5 town halls, a public library, and Barnes and Noble Loveland, Colorado.  She was interviewed by two newspapers and appeared in three as well as one online paper.  CBS4 Denver with Reporter Rick Sallinger, a renown reporter, and ABC7 Denver each spent four hours interviewing and filming her story and meeting with Conrad and Martha Hopp (first on the scene the night of November 1).

Trips to three important places rounded out her tour:  the beet fields in Weld County - the over 240 acres in which the plane, debris, and victims fell,  the State Armory Event Center, Greeley. Colorado, which became the morgue, and Flyteco Tower (a family oriented brewery and restaurant) at the former Stapleton Air Traffic Control Tower from which UA Flight 629 took flight.

She met people still alive today who were the first on the beetfield and others who were teenagers who witnessed the plane bombing. Each person she met remembered vividly where they were, what they did, what their parents did, and were opening up about the trauma they all incurred as a result of this evil tragedy which makes any horror story seem trivial in comparison. 

She is in the process of gathering stories from local residents of Weld County, the "unsung heroes" as she calls them.  Mead Townhall showed her plane debris still being plowed up by a local farmer. The friendships forged will remain a lifetime for Marian. 

Mayors are behind her in the creation of a Proclamation to be given for November 1 to comemorate the hundreds (circa 500 by estimates) of unsung heroes in their communities who portrayed the American Spirit of courage, bravery, and compassion in the search and rescue mission.  They have also offered to help with the development of a memorial because after 66 years, no such monument or historical marker exists.  The horror of the aftermath of UA Flight 629 left PTSD scars and so no one could talk about what they saw.  Consequently, memory of tragedy and evil of UA Flight #629 faded with time.  

Marian's hope and goal will be to assist these communities with the proclamations and memorial design and placement.  To Marian, these citizens  are the true heroes that night of November 1, 1955, and as she stated,

 

"Someone in this community found my dad, covered my dad, guarded my dad (from looters), and transported my dad to the State Amory in Greeley until the FBI released the victims to their homes for proper burial. I am eternally grateful, I could not have done that." 

Enjoy this photo travelogue from this first book tour of Finding My Father: 

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Monday, July 18 7pm - Johnstown Townhall - first presentation

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Marian's circuit of making presentations at Weld County area townhall meetings in front of majors, councilmen/women, and trustees was just beginning...

Tuesday, July 19 - Meeting at home of  Conrad and Martha Hopp and Interview with CBS4 Denver

Marian and Conrad and Martha Hopp met for the first time after 66 years since the fatal bombing of UA Flight 629 in which Marian's father lost his life before she was born. 

CBS4 Denver's prize winning reporter, Rick Sallinger, interviewed both of them during this historical meeting.  Rick Sallinger did an amazing job reducing over four hours spent interviewing both in the home and on the beetfields into a special two minute report aired Friday, July 23, at 6:30 pm on CBS4 Denver.  He managed to capture the essence of the tragedy, its effects on Marian, how Marian and Conrad's meeting began healing in both, and how the powerful effect of forgiveness enabled Marian to even make this memorable trip on behalf of her father, Marion P. Hobgood, and her mother, Martha M. Hobgood Weber.

 

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Left to Right:  Conrad Hopp (1st on the fields night of November 1, 1955, Rick Sallinger (Reporter with CBS4 Denver), and Dale (CBS4 Denver cameraman)

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Beet Fields: tail of plane found between the two front trees.

Backyard of Conrad Hopp's family farmhouse which bordered the fields.  A victim was located in this backyard.

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Beet Fields: 1 1/2 miles away from the tail where most victims were discovered over 160 acres.  

Tuesday, July  - 19 Day 2 
Presentation at Platteville Townhall

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Marian's circuit of making presentations at area townhall meetings in front of majors, councilmen/women, and trustees was just beginning...

Wednesday, July 20 - Day 2 on the beet fields

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Morgan McKenzie (Greeley Tribune), Marian, Matt Lubrich (Johnstown Breeze)

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Thursday, July 23 - Day 4 
Presentation Glenn A. Jones Memorial Library (aka Johnstown Public Library)
Over 30 people attended. Marian met more living eyewitnesses to the bombing of UA Flight 629 in Weld County. Discussion was lively as people began to share their stories. Many thanks to Kristi Plumb (Head Librarian) and Delka (______) for allowing Marian to kick off their new Signature Author Series and for their due diligence in publicity and welcoming me.  Hats off to authors Becky Tesone (book in progress)  and Aimee Furhman (Smudged Pages) for assisting with the book signing event. 

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Friday, July 22 - Day 5
Interview with Jeff Anastasio, ABC7 Denver at Conrad & Martha Hopp and beetfields

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Saturday, July 23  10 am to 4 pm - Day 6
Barnes and Noble - Loveland, Colorado
Book Signing Event

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Marian with the Barnes and Noble manager
and people she met

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Colorado author friends came to assist Marian

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Above, Left to Right:
Becky Tesone - , Marian,
Aimee Furhman - Smudged Pages

Monday, July 25  - Day 8
State Armory Event Center - Greeley, Colorado

This historic 100 year old building became a place for the victims of November 1, 1955, until released by the FBI to return to their homes. Marian's father laid here before being sent to his home and grave site in South Carolina.

Once a military base which trained men for WWI it now houses 3 churches, an addiction recovery ministry, and a banquet hall for rental.  Marian and her husband were given a tour by the pastor of Waypoint Community Church - a church for those forgotten by society.  The room designated as a morgue is now becoming a place for a cottage industry to assist former prisoners and addicts to gain skills and a trade to reinter into life.  Proceeds will help fund the upkeep of this historic site. Since her tour, this building no longer carries a place of sorrow and loss for Marian...but now represents a place of hope, restoration, and life for many. 

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Marian with Pastor of Waypoint Community Church, Greeley, Colorado who is in charge of the upkeep and continued restoration of the armory and serves as tour guide! 

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This basement room, once used as a temporary morgue for UA flight 629 victims, is being transformed by the visionary pastor to serve as a cottage industry to further reach out into the community.  A place of death becomes a place of life. 

To see further photos of this very unique building and to learn more about Waypoint Community Church, click on these websites.  State Armory Event Center  and Waypoint Faith Community

Monday, July 25  7pm - Day 8
Mead Townhall


A local farmer two years ago brought to Mead Townhall a bucket full of plane debris that he was still encountering when he would till his land.  At this townhall, the mayor not only hugged Marian, but  promised to help her with the proclamation and creation of a memorial. The town clerk who helped Marian get onto the agenda brought out this bucket of debris and everyone was in awe and stunned by the horror and reality of this tragedy 66 years ago.  Not only did the surving family members of those killed have to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives, but so did the communities impacted by it in Weld County for decades. 

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Right: UA Flight 629 plane debris from beet fields. The bucket will remain in Mead Townhall until decisions are made regarding the design of a memorial commemorating the 44 passengers killed and the approx. 500 citizens (the unsung heroes) who displayed utmost courage, bravery, and compassion in the search, rescue, and cleanup of the aftermath of the bombing.  

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The memorial when completed will serve on behalf of the victims' families to honor all unsung heroes, both past and present and future in Weld County. 

Tuesday, July 26  - Day 9 
Flyteco Tower - Brewery and Family Restaurant


The owners and managers of the new Flyteco Tower Brewery and Family Restaurant hosted Marian and her husband to a two hour tour of the 2 level restaurant at the base of the air traffic control tower at the former Stapleton Airport, Denver, Colorado. Flyteco is built by pilots for pilots and boasts of containing a putt putt golf course, 6 bowling alleys, various game rooms, two bars, and more. Working in conjunction with Denver's Wings Over the Rockies Air Museum, the Flyteco Tower remains true to its owners' passion for flying and will host a living air museum with rotating exhibits from Wings Over the Rockies. 

Flyteco Tower was not yet opened, but this didn't stop the owners from surprising Marian with this personal tour and gourmet lunch provided by their chef. Once they heard about Marian's father being killed on the UA Flight 629, they wanted to greet her and give her and her husband to an exclusive tour. Part of the tour included being taken on the top roof that now overlooks the Central Park development. The owners' knowledge of Stapleton Airport allowed them to show Marian which runway (direction of the runway) Flight 629 would have taken off.  It was the air traffic control tower who through their radar detection realized that UA Flight 629 went missing and that something was wrong. 

"Your story, Marian, touches us so much. We are glad to be a part of your journey.  It is stories of the former former historic Stapleton Airport that we want to preserve. We are glad to be a part of your journey.
You are always welcomed back anytime, Marian and Pep."  -- Owners

Flyteco Tower is the 2nd restaurant they have opened in an historical landmark building in Denver.  Brewing their own beer, the Flyteco Tower will not disappoint you and is a must stop in any trip to Denver.  It soft-opened July 31, just days after Marian's visit to give their staff and public a trial run through. Their official grand-opening was August 13, 2022. 

Click on the following links to learn more about both Flyteco breweries.
Flyteco Tower and Flyteco Brewery

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Former Stapleton Airport Traffic Control Tower as seen from roof top.

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Direction of runway from which UA Flight 629 would have taken off from.

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Ground floor of Flyteco T0wer

3D mural of Corsair on Level 2

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2 of the 6 bowling alleys

Photo with Owners and Managers

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From left to right: 

Owners Jason and Morgan (Eric, the 3rd owner, was on a business trip and missed this photo - op)


Pep (Colen) and Marian

Managers Lee Ann and Chris

Flyteco Towers officially opened August 2022.

Thank you to everyone for taking time from your busy schedule for this momentous visit to the former Stapleton Airport!

Tuesday, July 26 7pm
Longmont Townhall

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Although this was the shortest time allotted Marian to speak, the councilmen and women were touched as well as the audience. Again, Marian made substantial connections. Longmont citizens and veterans in the Amercian Legion Post were crucial in the search, rescue, and clean-up mission. Their unsung heroes must be remembered along with the other communities.

Wednesday, July 27 7pm Firestone Townhall

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Top Right
From Left to Right, the fivesome who met for the first time in Weld County:

 

  • Rick Tittle: who made this trip possible, serving as tour guide, and attending every function

  • Colen (Pep) and Marian Poeppelmeyer

  • Conrad and Martha Hopp: Both at age 18 arrived at the beetfields first and began to discover, cover up, and protect the bodies. Both remember vividly the horror of that night. Both welcomed Marian and Pep. They became good friends as the Hopps and Poeppelmeyers spent hours together with each interview, fellowshipping, and dining together. 

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Marian meets another man who was 18 on the beetfields, another hero from November 1, 1955.  He is the one next to Marian. To protect privacy, his name is not given. 

Congressional Candidate attends the July 27, 2022 townhall meeting and introduces herself to Marian.

She plans to help Marian work towards a November 1 Proclamation.

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Firestone Townhall's reception of Marian and the vision for a Proclamation and Memorial ended the pilgramage back to the beet fields on a very high note.  The current beet fields are being developed by Barefoot Lakes Development and the 6 square miles of the crash site was recently annexed into the town of Firestone.  As such, the mayor verbally asked for Marian
s help in producing the Proclamation and stated the Firestone owns a park bordering the fields where a memorial could eventually be placed.  

Marian returned to Ohio from Denver and Weld County very satisfied knowing that she, her book, and message made a difference in the lives and communities she met.  Likewise, the warm welcome she received by all left a lasting impression upon her and brought not just resolution in her heart but healing to many who were equally traumatized and affected by that one night in November 1955.

She knows she will be returning to her new found "second home" in Weld County, Colorado, confident that her father was left in good hands and that he would be proud of her turning this one evil tragedy into a something positive and healing for all those affected.  For over 20 years, she has wanted to make her dad's life count. She's confident she did. She said good bye to him in the beet fields and told him that she missed him and would be back.

This portion of Book Tour News has been dedicated to the citizens of Weld County, all first responders, and to her father, Marion Pierce Hobgood. 

Many thanks to Becky Tesone, Aimee Furhman, Rick Tittle, Conrad and Martha Hopp, and
her driver and faithful roadie, Colen (Pep) Poeppelmeyer, husband.