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Salute to Capt. Ernie Wagner

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Old 10-11-2006, 11:22 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: On the "Beautiful Ohio" at New Albany, Indiana, opposite Louisville, Kentucky
Posts: 2,078
Default Salute to Capt. Ernie Wagner

As mentioned on the homepage, today marks the 27th anniversary of the passing of Capt. Ernest E. Wagner, longtime master of the steamers DELTA QUEEN and AVALON. Capt. Ernie started his river career on the excursion steamer ISLAND QUEEN and was aboard when she exploded at Pittsburgh in 1947. Many of his fellow crew members did not live to tell of that experience and it always gave me chills to hear "The BIG E.", as he was affectionately known, recount the horrific details of that harrowing day in which he had to jump overboard from the blazing steamboat. Capt. Ernie had only a fifth grade education, but he knew steamboating from A to Z and was one of the greatest teachers of all time. I thought of him last Sunday as I played "Down Yonder" on the calliope of the BELLE, as this was his favorite tune and he always requested me to play it for him when I was a crew member on the DQ. Capt. Ernie was certainly of the "old school" of steamboating, a one of a kind treasure, and still much missed by those who knew and loved him. A long and loud whistle salute to Capt. Ernie Wagner!

Last edited by Keith Norrington; 10-11-2006 at 03:44 PM.
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