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In Memoriam - William V. Torner - 1915-2011

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Old 07-08-2011, 08:31 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: On the "Beautiful Ohio" at New Albany, Indiana, opposite Louisville, Kentucky
Posts: 2,078
Default In Memoriam - William V. Torner - 1915-2011

Capt. Carl Henry phoned this evening from his pilothouse atop the M/V SCOTT STEGBAUER, currently upbound below St. Louis, to convey the sad news of the passing, today, of William V. Torner, 95, at Knoxville, Tennessee.

Bill hailed from the Upper Ohio River and had muddy water flowing in his veins at an early age. In the early 1920's, the Torner family had a contract for a mail ferry service across the Ohio from Newport to the B&O Railroad mail stop at Vaucluse, West Virginia. Billl rowed a 16 foot skiff, making five round trips per day, six days a week in all weather and river conditions, day and night. In June, 1934, his first steamboat job was aboard the sidewheel J.S. , of Streckfus Steamers. He also served aboard the Str. SENATOR, formerly the SAINT PAUL. Later, her worked on the steam towboat RELIANCE, of Union Barge Line. Bill was very proud of his service as a "Seabee" in the U.S. Navy during World War II. In later years, Bill resided in St. Louis and Waterloo, Iowa before moving to Tennessee.

In recent years, despite ill health, Bill's interest in the river never waivered. He maintained a fine library and well organized collection of photographs and slides, many of which he had taken himself and meticulously annotated. Most of all, he greatly enjoyed keeping in touch with river people. He was a longtime subscriber to The Waterways Journal, a member of the Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen and a charter member of the Midwest Riverboat Buffs from the organization's inception in 1972. He always was 'happy to give' and closed his interesting letters with the phrase, "May we have steamboats forever."

Bill's niece, Sherrie Torner, wanted his river friends to know that she plans to take her uncle's ashes to the Newport Cemetery, above Marietta, in September at the time of the S&D meeting, where they will be interred next to his wife, Bernice, who passed on many years ago, their graves being in close proximity to those of the Greene and Hughes families, all well known and greatly respected on the river.

A long and two shorts of the whistle in tribute to a dedicated riverman, gentleman and good friend.
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