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Survivors and friends gather for Edmond Post Office massacre anniversary

Shelby Champion places a flower on the wreath of her grandmother, Patricia Gabbard, during a memorial ceremony. Gabbard died 30 years ago in the Edmond Post Office massacre. [PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN]

Shelby Champion places a flower on the wreath of her grandmother, Patricia Gabbard, during a memorial ceremony. Gabbard died 30 years ago in the Edmond Post Office massacre. [PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN]

EDMOND — Survivors and family members of the Aug. 20, 1986, Edmond Post Office massacre attended a memorial service marking the 30th anniversary.

Emotions surfaced for many who attended the ceremony Saturday at the permanent memorial at the post office, where 14 co-workers were killed, six others injured and the gunman, former employee Patrick H. Sherrill, killed himself.

Wreaths, seven with pink flowers for the women who were killed, and seven with blue flowers for the men who were killed, were placed in front of their names on the memorial fountain.

Balloons with the victims' names attached were released during the ceremony organized by Herb Rettke, a postal carrier at the time of the shootings.

Rettke was talking on the telephone to Rick Esser, his supervisor, when Esser was shot and killed. Esser was the first victim to be killed.

Rettke and former Mayor Carl Reherman spoke at the ceremony. Reherman was mayor when the shootings took place.

A reception was held at the Edmond Fine Arts Center, where people could visit and view a photography exhibit.

Related Photos
<p>Shelby Champion places a flower on the wreath of her grandmother, Patricia Gabbard, during a memorial ceremony. Gabbard died 30 years ago in the Edmond Post Office massacre. [PHOTOs BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN]</p>

Shelby Champion places a flower on the wreath of her grandmother, Patricia Gabbard, during a memorial ceremony. Gabbard died 30 years ago in the Edmond Post Office massacre. [PHOTOs BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-2cb22fc9936cc9b36b00b464dde55b54.jpg" alt="Photo - Shelby Champion places a flower on the wreath of her grandmother, Patricia Gabbard, during a memorial ceremony. Gabbard died 30 years ago in the Edmond Post Office massacre. [PHOTOs BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN] " title=" Shelby Champion places a flower on the wreath of her grandmother, Patricia Gabbard, during a memorial ceremony. Gabbard died 30 years ago in the Edmond Post Office massacre. [PHOTOs BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN] "><figcaption> Shelby Champion places a flower on the wreath of her grandmother, Patricia Gabbard, during a memorial ceremony. Gabbard died 30 years ago in the Edmond Post Office massacre. [PHOTOs BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-478c6c08c89fc8387e3cf1cfff2105e1.jpg" alt="Photo - Ruth Ann Bryson wipes away a tear as she looks at the wreath of her sister, Patty Husband, during a 30th anniversary memorial service for Edmond Post Office victims and survivors and their families. Husband, 48, was killed. [PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN]   " title=" Ruth Ann Bryson wipes away a tear as she looks at the wreath of her sister, Patty Husband, during a 30th anniversary memorial service for Edmond Post Office victims and survivors and their families. Husband, 48, was killed. [PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN]   "><figcaption> Ruth Ann Bryson wipes away a tear as she looks at the wreath of her sister, Patty Husband, during a 30th anniversary memorial service for Edmond Post Office victims and survivors and their families. Husband, 48, was killed. [PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN]   </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-ed71e80f0f0d567b650249cb19121f8f.jpg" alt="Photo - Linda Brundage comforts her sister, Janet Esser, beside the wreath of Esser's husband, Rick Esser. Rick Esser, a supervisor, was the first of 14 postal employees to be shot and killed in 1986 at the Edmond Post Office. [PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN]   " title=" Linda Brundage comforts her sister, Janet Esser, beside the wreath of Esser's husband, Rick Esser. Rick Esser, a supervisor, was the first of 14 postal employees to be shot and killed in 1986 at the Edmond Post Office. [PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN]   "><figcaption> Linda Brundage comforts her sister, Janet Esser, beside the wreath of Esser's husband, Rick Esser. Rick Esser, a supervisor, was the first of 14 postal employees to be shot and killed in 1986 at the Edmond Post Office. [PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN]   </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-51d6c8a37d92c4112fce61759aeae3bf.jpg" alt="Photo - Balloons, seven pink and seven blue, represent the 14 men and women who died during the 1986 Edmond Post Office massacre. [PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN]   " title=" Balloons, seven pink and seven blue, represent the 14 men and women who died during the 1986 Edmond Post Office massacre. [PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN]   "><figcaption> Balloons, seven pink and seven blue, represent the 14 men and women who died during the 1986 Edmond Post Office massacre. [PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN]   </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-0a8851351bd7807e9db5ba8edf93b3ad.jpg" alt="Photo - Family members and survivors stand in front of memorial wreaths during a 30th anniversary memorial service of the Edmond Post Office massacre in downtown Edmond. [PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN]   " title=" Family members and survivors stand in front of memorial wreaths during a 30th anniversary memorial service of the Edmond Post Office massacre in downtown Edmond. [PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN]   "><figcaption> Family members and survivors stand in front of memorial wreaths during a 30th anniversary memorial service of the Edmond Post Office massacre in downtown Edmond. [PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN]   </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-3e61f962d6568dd6125e001114ac8b42.jpg" alt="Photo - Shelby Champion places a flower on the wreath of her grandmother, Patricia Gabbard, during a memorial ceremony. Gabbard died 30 years ago in the Edmond Post Office massacre. [PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN] " title=" Shelby Champion places a flower on the wreath of her grandmother, Patricia Gabbard, during a memorial ceremony. Gabbard died 30 years ago in the Edmond Post Office massacre. [PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN] "><figcaption> Shelby Champion places a flower on the wreath of her grandmother, Patricia Gabbard, during a memorial ceremony. Gabbard died 30 years ago in the Edmond Post Office massacre. [PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN] </figcaption></figure>
Diana Baldwin

Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote the original stories about the... Read more ›

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