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Robert Eugene DRAINE(1931 - 2014)

On February 10, 2014 Born December 19, 1931 to George Eugene and Lois McCoullough Draine in Rushville, Ill. Graduate of Rushville HS, Class of 1950, and Bailey Technical School, St. Louis, Mo. Enlisted in United States Navy and served in the Construction Battalion (SeaBees) from 1952-53 during the Korean Conflict. In September of 1953 he returned to Rushville to marry Shirley Newell , his wife of fifty years. From 1954 to 1959 he worked as chief engineer aboard towboats for Blaske Barge Lines of Alton, Ill. He left Blaske in 1960 for Twin City Barge and Towing, assuming the role of Port Engineer at their Lemont, Ill. facility. In 1962 he was transferred to company headquarters in St. Paul, Mn, moving his burgeoning family to their new home on English Street in St.Paul. Fulfilling a lifelong dream, in 1971 Bob bought Harris Boat and Towing from legendary owner Captain A.B. Harris and renamed the company Capitol Barge Service. For the next seventeen years he operated on a handshake agreement with the Cargill Corporation, moving their vast fleets of barges during the boom years of the seventies and eighties. Bob sold Capitol Barge to Consolidated Barge of St Louis in 1988, and enjoyed many years of semi-retirement on the water. Known the length of the Mississippi for his professionalism and integrity, Bob Draine ran a tight ship in the barge and towing industry. His fleet of meticulously-maintained red and white towboats were for many years the pride of the Saint Paul Harbor. And his floating wharfbarge - long a fixture beneath the Smith Avenue High Bridge in downtown Saint Paul - was often a beacon for line-haul towboats limping into port in search of Bob's expertise and knowledge. If it floated, Bob could fix it. He was a soft touch for down-on-their-luck river deckhands, volunteered his skills annually to the Great River Cleanup, and was a tireless behind-the-scenes facilitator at the St Paul Yacht Club where, in summer months, he lived aboard his steel trawler "Iron Coffin." (His sense of humor was most evident in his knack for naming things, and also in his peculiarly-turned phrases. In Bob's world, a sudden downpour might be called a "frog-strangler," or a special event a "rat-killing.") Like his rugged towboats, Bob churned a deep wake along this stretch of the river. Survived by son Timothy (Cynthia); daughter Susan Draine Skoog (Jack) and their mother Shirley; granddaughters Stephanie and Laurel Draine, Samilyn and Gracelyn Skoog; grandson Christopher Skoog (Teresa) and great grandsons Christopher and Ethan, grandsons Brian Skoog (Elizabeth), Eric Skoog. A special rat killing celebrating Bob's life will be held on Saturday, April 19th (2-5pm) aboard the floating clubhouse of the Saint Paul Yacht Club, 375 Water Street, Saint Paul. In lieu of flowers or memorials please make a donation to a in Bob's name 651-645-1233


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Published in Pioneer Press on Feb. 16, 2014
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