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Dedication of Capt. Fred Way Marker

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Old 06-09-2010, 12:14 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: St. Paul, MN
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Default Dedication of Capt. Fred Way Marker

Received this from a YouTube friend a couple of weeks ago, she asked that it be shared with others.

Remembering Captain Fred Way, Jr., of Sewickley, PA 15143Share
Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 5:41pm | Edit Note | Delete
You may never have heard of Captain Fred Way, Jr. of Sewickley, PA, USA, but he accomplished so much for our local community while at the same time, was considered the world's authority on America's rivers.

From the time I first taught in Quaker Valley School District in the late 1960's, I remember how excited the whole town would be when the Delta Queen steamed by. Why? Sewickley was SPECIAL!

The huge paddlewheeler never failed to stop, drop anchor, and play right in front of retired Captain Way's Sewickley River Street home, "Beautiful Dreamer" on the ship's calliope, our Captain's favorite song. Then the huge steamboat would make its way up the river to Pittsburgh. On the way back, it was the same thing, and we delighted in it once again on its way back to Nashville.

No matter where we were in the middle of a lesson or what we were doing, my school students from the old orange brick Sewickley Elementary School (where Talbots is now, and across from the Sewickley Public Library) would all run to the window and shout, "The Delta Queen is here! Listen, listen!" What joy that simple gesture brought to the whole town!

When Captain Way died in Marietta, Ohio at the age of 91 while staying with his daughter, his ashes were sent back to Sewickley for internment in the Sewickley Cemetery via the Delta Queen.

My family members were all there at the boat landing with about 40 other Sewickleyans for this big night.... nearby was Dr. Robert Fusco, my computer partner, who I called frantically at the last minute to make sure he attended this historical event. Sewickley illustrator and artist George Gaadt was there too....a true historian as well as NFL photographer.

We all waited and waited for the paddlewheeler to come. Night was falling and people were getting restless, about ready to leave thinking perhaps there must had been some informational mistake.

Just then, from around the bend in the far distance came a big light, flooding the river, the beam sweeping from one side of the river to another, back and forth.

The excitement built until the Delta Queen seemed to be right in front of the Sewickley wharf. (Which, by the way in 1992, was blocked off, not used, if I'm not mistaken.)

All the passengers lucky enough to be on the boat for that voyage, leaned forward against the railing to the one side of the boat, towards us, on multiple decks. Luckily, it didn't tip over!

The boat's anchor was lowered. The Delta Queen's calliope played "Beautiful Dreamer." We almost were in tears by now.

Then the gangplank swung out, and the present Captain of the Delta Queen, awash in his crisp, white uniform, stepped forward, but then stood still.

After a dramatic minute's pause, he made his way down the gangplank, and handed Captain Way's ashes to Mrs. B.G.Y. Shields, who was the editor of the Sewickley HERALD at the time, a job that Capt. Way had, and also, President of the Sewickley Valley Historical Society, of which Captain Way was first president. What a sight that was to see! I will never forget it.

The Delta Queen's Captain saluted Captain Way's urn, then all of us, did an "About Face," and clicked his heels, ceremoniously proceeding back onto the boat. The gangplank swung back into position, alongside the paddlewheeler. Once more, the Captain stood with all of the passengers on the boat looking at us, some waving, and we did the same, in almost dreamy-eyed Silence. "Don't forget this moment" our hearts seemed to thump into our brainwaves.

The stillness and quietude ended. One more time, the calliope played "Beautiful Dreamer."

"Remember, remember, you'll want to recall this," thoughts danced in my head.

The anchor was pulled up and off they went.... Memories, memories...

There is an accompanying YouTube video: YouTube - Dedication of Capt. Fred Way's Marker-Large.m4v
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