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Keith Norrington 04-06-2009 09:10 AM

In Memoriam - Edward "Boo" Texas
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Edward "Boo" Texas, a longtime crew member aboard the Str. BELLE OF LOUISVILLE, passed away on March 23rd here in Louisville. Also known as "Tex", he is survived by his seven siblings, nieces, nephews and a multitude of friends. Tex faithfully served as deckhand, then fireman, for decades and will be remembered by many in the immaculate boiler room, always friendly and happy to answer questions from passengers about his very noisy and HOT domain.

Until we meet again, THANKS, Tex, for always being so dependable to "keep up steam", and for your friendship. You were a good man to ride the river with, and a long and two shorts of the whistle to your memory.

Photos: (1) "Tex" relaxing on Belle forecastle at Cincinnati, October, 1972. (2) Belle whistle blowing a salute. (3) Sunset and steam from the stern of the BELLE, below Cincinnati, en route to Tall Stacks, October, 1992.

Frank X. Prudent 04-06-2009 11:10 AM

I'm sorry to hear about "Tex's" passing away. When Dad started on the BELLE in 1982, "Tex" was pretty much the weekend day fireman. Dad always rested comfortably when "Tex" was firing. He knew how to hold steam, and wouldn't let the boat get into any trouble.

My sympathy goes to "Tex's" family and friends. I'll drink a cold Falls City toast to him.

Jim Reising 04-07-2009 04:58 PM

In the early days of the BELLE, Tex was a deckhand before he graduated to the firebox. During winter lay-up Tex would fill in as night watchmen, but most of the time he held forth at the Rush Inn, a tavern within walking distance of his home since Tex never got a drivers license. At the Rush Inn Tex and the guys would buy, sell and swap guns all winter long, but Tex mostly dealt in back powder muzzle loaders. One Friday night in the dead of winter I dropped by the BELLE to visit with Tex who stationed himself in the galley of the RENOWN where he had a fire going in the coal fired cook stove (the BELLE was tied on the outside of the RENOWN and you had to come aboard the RENOWN to get on the BELLE so the watchmen mostly stayed on the RENOWN). Tex said "looky at what I bought today" and he pulled out a 12 gauge double barrel muzzle loading shotgun from behind the stove. "Lets see what this thing sounds like" he said, so he proceeded to load the gun with black powder and toilet paper wadding. Now no measuring of the powder, he just poured it down the barrell until he thought he had enough. We went out on the guard of the RENOWN, Tex pointed the gun toward Indiana and pulled both triggers at once., smoke and burning toilet paper shot at least two hundred feet out over the river, about two seconds later the concussion came bouncing back from Indiana BOOM,BOOM only five times louder than the original, then came the returning concussion off the downtown buildings even louder yet BOOM BOOM BOOM all this while flaming toilet paper continued to fall from the sky and smoke enveloped the stern of the RENOWN. Tex and I looked at each other and in unison said "OH S--T". I made a quick getaway to my car, but poor Tex had to stay on the boat but luckily nothing happened. Apparently our midnight mini Thunder Over Louisville didn't even wake-up the guard who was on duty in the Coast Guard station's tower. Tex and I laughed over this incidence the last time I saw him.
Yes, it was with a heavy heart that Alan Bates, Kenny Howe and I went to the funeral home to pay our last respects and say Good Bye to a good friend.
Perhaps Alan will write the story about how Tex saved the BELLE from destruction.

Bob Reynolds 04-07-2009 07:08 PM

Great story, Jim! Is this the same Boo of the cigar story/drowning in Alan's book "Str. BELLE OF LOUISVILLE"?

Jim Blum 04-07-2009 08:33 PM

While myself never in the Rush Inn, I was well aware of the place being Tex's 'home away from home'. Every time I passed the place over the years I thought of him and could visually see him sitting in the firebox of the Belle in the ancient and ornate Barber Chair. At that time, during the winter months, the Barber Chair lived in the deck house of the former CG station/wharfboat and (the seat) was kept warm between rounds by the Watchman. Tex was certainly a good fireman, loved the Belle and definitely one of the dwindling number of River Characters whom I have had the pleasure of knowing. I hope his final crossing was peaceful.

Jim Reising 04-07-2009 11:11 PM

Yes, it's the same Boo. Tex loved his dark Certified Bond cigars.

Alan Bates 04-08-2009 06:13 AM

Now that you have brought it up, Jim, I'll tell the tale. Tex (we didn't call him Boo - that was a family nickname) was tending the sternline as we entered Lock 43 upbound on a beautiful calm afternoon. I was on the wing bridge. We were floating along with the engines stopped. All was well.
[B][I]Suddenly[/I][/B] the boat took off for the upper gate in an unexpected gale of wind. I yelled at the pilot (Paul Underwood) to back full, which he did. Before he could ring the bells, Tex had lassoed a pin and stopped the boat. We were about fifty feet from the gate when we got stopped.
Tex was that way. He was absolutely dependable, always in a good mood, and utterly obedient.

Alan Bates 04-08-2009 06:24 AM

There was another Tex incident in the Belle of Louisville book. I was there as architect, not mate. Tex and a couple of other guys took a pile of masonite up to the roof and put it in the wrong place. Tex was there when I saw it and ordered him to move it. Tex looked a hole through me, sighed and moved the forty or so sheets. A moment later Paul Underwood asked me to get my mates' license. Not asked - ordered is a better word.

Keith Norrington 04-08-2009 09:37 AM

Tex was always proud of the fact that he's pictured on page 75 of Alan's book, [I]Belle of Louisville[/I].

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