KUNER, Leroy O.

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KUNER, Leroy O. ( -1905), drowned at Seal Rocks, Santa Catalina Island on August 13, 1902.

In the News~

August 11, 1905 Catherine MacLean Loud diary: ”Leroy O. Kuner of Brawley, Calif., drowned at Seal Rocks. One dozen boats searched for him in vain. Search was made endlessly for days by Capt. Herbert Young in a diving suit but no trace was ever found. Capt. Clark in launch, Blue Lodge, searched.

August 14, 1905 [LAT]: ”The first drowning in the history of Catalina since it became a resort some fifteen years ago, occurred yesterday at Seal Rocks, when Leroy O. Kuner met his death. Friday last Mr. Kuner, who was assistant cashier at the Imperial Bank at Brawley, California, and C. P. Clifford of Los Angeles, were fishing from a rowboat at Seal Rocks, when they lost their anchor, which was nothing more than a large stone, around which was tied a rope. The stone slipped out and they drifted about so that it was impossible to fish to advantage, and they decided to go ashore and get another anchor stone. They went in famously on the crest of a wave, high and dry, but they made the discovery then that the waves were pounding furiously, and it was impossible for them to launch their boat again. Convinced of this, they pulled their boat up on the beach out of the reach of the surf and climbing the cliff, returned to Avalon on foot over the hills. Clifford was obliged by a business engagement to go over to Los Angeles Friday afternoon, but arranged with Kuner to return with him Sunday, when he would again be in Avalon, and get the boat. Kuner did not wait, but yesterday engaging Johnnie Robarts, skipper of the Tio Juan and one of the best surfmen on the island, went down to recover the boat. After landing, Robarts pushed Kuner off, and he got beyond the breakers in good shape. The surf was running high and Robarts was not so successful in his own attempt to get off, but swamped his boat. While emptying out the water he noticed that Kuner had stopped rowing and while watching him, had drifted back into a dangerous position, and was likely to be caught in the big rollers. He called to Kuner and warned him to keep farther out and then continued his effort to get the water out of his boat. While thus engaged he heard a cry and looking up saw Kuner and his boat lifted high on the crest of a furious breaker, the skiff overturning, and the next instant both were dashed into the white, seething billows. Kuner reappeared and seemed to be swimming toward the shore, but only for an instant. Robarts started to go to his assistance, but had gone but a few steps when he again went down and was seen no more. Robarts disrobed and went into the surf and spent an hour in trying to locate the body, when Captain Clark of the launch Blue Lodge, with Oscar Lawlor and some friends aboard happened along and joined in the search, but without avail. Afterward word was brought uptown and Constable Vincente with grappling irons and half a dozen other boats went down, but all to no purpose. The body was not recovered. The family has telegraphed instructions to spare no means to find the body, and Captain Young, the diver, will go down tomorrow and make as careful a search as possible for the remains.”

August 21, 1905 Catherine MacLean Loud diary: ”Father and sister of Leroy O. Kuner from the Beverly Bank where he was cashier, searched for the drowned man’s body. Capt. Herbert Young in his diving suit searched again for the body at Seal Rocks.”