A 90-year-old woman who was critically injured in the May 20 tornado died Thursday.
Kathryn Begay died at Integris Hospice House in Oklahoma City, 73 days after her Moore home was destroyed and she was taken to the hospital with a skull fracture.
Officials from the state medical examiner's office, which previously said 24 people died in the EF5 tornado, said Thursday they had not been notified of her death.
“She was making a strong recovery,” said her son Greg Begay. “Then she had a stroke shortly after surgery to repair damage to her scalp.
“This scalp injury was caused by the skull fracture she suffered during the tornado.”
She has had two strokes since being injured in the tornado.
The EF5 tornado took the lives of 24 people before Kathryn Begay's death.
Sheryll Brown, director of the state Health Department's Injury Prevention Service, said health department records will count Kathryn Begay's death as a tornado injury death.
Kathryn Begay, confined to a wheelchair, was an independent woman who wouldn't leave her Moore home in the wake of the approaching tornado. Family members tried to get her out before the tornado devastated Moore and south Oklahoma City.
She was pulled from the rubble near SW 12th and Santa Fe by her grandson, Stephen Begay, an EMSA emergency medical technician.
An Oklahoma City police officer drove her to Integris Southwest Medical Center where she stayed until June 7. She had a minor stroke a day earlier and couldn't communicate.
On July 22, she had a more serious stroke.
“At that point, we knew there was no chance and she was put on life support,” Greg Begay said.
She has been in hospice care since Monday.
Her four children and grandchildren were with her when she died.
She liked to grow flowers. The size of her garden had gotten smaller over time. But her tulips kept coming back up after the tornado and after a bobcat cleared the debris from her home.
Her dog, Missy, who was lost in the tornado, was later found uninjured at the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter.
“She was very dirty,” Greg Begay said. “We cleaned her up and have her here.”
One of Kathryn Begay's favorite pastimes was fishing.
“She was very strong,” her son said. “She has fought since May 20.”
Services are pending at Resthaven Funeral Home.