June 19, 1905 – May 4, 1978
Captain Tate had friends from one end of the Mississippi River to the other.
The best view of the man lies in his philosophy while he was with us. It was a philosophy, which closely paralled that of Mark Twain, who said, “Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”
He was above all else, an honest man who believed that anything else was intolerable.
He believed so strongly in the dignity of his crew over the years. When they worked hard for him, he worked twice as hard for them. Descriptions of him as a tough riverman and demanding skipper were invariably followed by “fair and understanding.”
He was known for bringing people along as he traveled the river. His attitude was…”if you don’t love this kind of life with no strings, stay away from it.”
He proved his love for river life as conclusively as any man could. He proved it to his peers, proved it to his family and friends, proved it for generations of rivermen to come, for he traveled and worked and studied his rivers for 52 years. He did it with the grace of an endless current on its way somewhere…anywhere.
He will be sorly missed by all who knew him. And those who knew him must surly know that he was just cunning enough, just impish enough, just sly enough to have made darn sure there is a river somewhere in heaven…or he would never have left~~
By: Ron P. Tate