“That’s when the phone went dead,” Stepson recalls last phone conversation with Garvin County man killed in tornado

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GARVIN COUNTY, Okla. - We are learning about the last words of a Garvin County man killed in Monday’s tornado.

His stepson was on the phone with him as the EF4 hit.

Chester Barnes, or 'Mike' as many called him, was 76 and in good health.

His wife of more than 30 years died about a year ago but, with five kids and several grandkids, he kept busy.

His family was expected to make more memories with him and are still in shock over his sudden and tragic death.

“I’m not a very easy person at breaking down and stuff but, you know, when it happens like that,” said his stepson, Loy Kittrell. “I miss him very much. I know his whole family misses him.”

Kittrell remembers their last conversation clearly.

“I called him. I seen on the news where the weather was coming in,” Kittrell said. “When I talked to him, he said it was just within yards of his house.”

His worried stepson stayed on the line.

“He said it was just getting closer and closer and, as he described it to me, I was like, you know, get in the middle of the house, Mike,” Kittrell said. “He said the front porch was starting to disintegrate, and he said there was a tree getting pulled up in the front yard and, at that time, that’s when the phone went dead.”

Kittrell tried calling him back with no luck.

He then jumped in his car and headed to Mike’s home.

When law enforcement finally let him through, there was no Mike, only devastation.

“I would have never thought that, when the phone went dead, that that was it,” Kittrell said.

Even through their sorrow, Mike’s family has a sense of peace knowing he wasn’t afraid or alone in his final moments.

“I’m just glad that he’s in a better place, and he’s up there with my mother today,” Kittrell said.

Mike’s funeral will be held Friday at 2 p.m. at Katie Victory Baptist Church.

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