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Captain Dennis Ray Trone

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Old 05-05-2008, 09:33 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Paragould, AR or on m/v MAGNOLIA
Posts: 1,422
Default Captain Dennis Ray Trone

I received the sad news just a few minutes ago that Capt. Dennis Trone was killed earlier today in an airplane crash near Broadhead, Wisconsin. Denny loved, owned and flew antique airplanes as a hobby for many years. I have no other details on this terrible accident; more as we learn more.

Capt. Trone, for thoose who do not know him, was an exceptional man. He was from central Illinois, and he had been an officer in the U.S. Navy. It didn't suit him, though, and rather than continue a naval career, he came back to the heartland and went to work for the Dubuque Boat and Boiler Company of Dubuque, IA, designing excursion boats. The last boat to be built at D.B.&B. Co. was the Str. JULIA BELLE SWAIN, that Denny built in, I believe, 1971, using Gillett and Eaton steam engines and other parts from the Str. CITY OF BATON ROUGE. Capt. Trone operated this boat for years at Peoria, Illinois on the Illinois River, and in the winters for several years took the boat to Chattanooga, TN and ran her there, sometimes even going up to Knoxville. Not only was Denny a crackerjack pilot and captain, but he was also a licensed steam engineer.

Capt. Trone pioneered the modern concept of running boats for 2-day-long excursions with lodging on shore -- he first did this on the Illinois from Peoria up to Starved Rock State Park, and then on the Tennessee between Chattanooga and Knoxville. His last venture was to build the motor vessel TWILIGHT, a lovely screw propelled boat in the steamboat style (but no fake paddlewheel!), and operated the TWILIGHT as a companion with the JULIA BELLE SWAIN between LeClaire, IA and Chestnut Mountain Lodge near Galena, IL. He was very succesful with this. He sold the J.B.S. and retired several years ago.

Capt. Trone was a true renaissance man, who was as friendly as he was smart and talented. A real loss for the passenger boat community on the rivers.
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