In Memory

Dana Woolston

Dana Woolston

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - Billings Youth Gives Life to Save Boy

Dana Woolston, a young musician thrust into a hero's role, will never know the boy whose life he saved.

Woolston, 19, was swimming in Sheridan Lake, South Dakota, when he heard cries for help.  A youngster was floundering in water 10 to 15 feet deep, panicked after apparently slipping off an inner tube.

Witnesses said the curly-haired Billings, Mont., youth swam out to the boy and pulled him toward shore, finally pushing him to some women who had waded out as far as they could. 

Woolston apparently became entangled in heavy underwater vegetation.  Witnesses said he went under without a call for help and never returned to the surface.

"He got out there and got the lad to the ladies, but by the time they got to shore and turned around the gentleman had drowned," said Pennington County Deputy Sheriff Duane Plucker.

Plucker said 15 to 20 people were at the scene when he arrived at the beach, about 25 miles southwest of Rapid City in the Black Hills.

The body of the slender, 6-foot Woolston was recovered Tuesday afternoon.  Recovery attempts were hampered when divers' gear became entangled in the vegetation.

Reached in Billings, Dee, one of Woolston's three brothers, said Dana played guitar in a five-member band called "New Found Joy," which had been on tour all summer in Montana and South Dakota.

His mother, Mrs. W. F. Woolston, said, "We were in Rapid City just last Saturday to see him.  Playing in the band on tour was something he always wanted to do, something he'd thought about for a long time."

Dana had completed one year at Montana State, studying civil engineering.

go to bottom 
  Post Comment

02/27/21 11:11 AM #1    

Samuel Peck

Dana was the first friend I can remember loosing and in my eyes he was a hero.  He played in the last high school rock band I played in, along with Tim Cline who passed way too early as well.   As I recall, Dana drowned at Cooney the summer of 1974, saving a much younger child struggling in the water.  I remember his memorial effecting me for a very long time.

02/27/21 07:37 PM #2    

Mary Westbrook

Dana was one of my first new friends in high school. Heckuva horn player and steady wit. With a spectacular IQ. (When did we take IQ tests?) But Yes there were two folders out on top of Mrs. What's Her Name's desk who was late to my 15 minute college counseling session: Westbrook and Woolston. Dana's IQ put mine in the dust and was up near Jupiter. I know exactly where I was and what I was doing when I learned Dana had drowned the day before. Still rides sad in my heart.

10/08/23 10:54 PM #3    

Diane Emswiler (Knopf)

When our family moved into the Central Heights Subdivision in 1957, Dana was one of my first friends growing up.  They lived right across the street.  So sad to have lost him.  I was living in MN when he drowned.  I got together with his parents many times on my visits back to MT.  

go to top 
  Post Comment