ST LOUIS—The Passenger Vessel Association (PVA) announced the first inductees of the PVA Hall of Fame on Feb. 7, 2011, during the PVA Annual Convention at MariTrends 2011, held here. The inductees were Capt. William D. Bowell, Sr., Jack Trotter and Dennis Trone. All three individuals were the first officers of the National Association of Passenger Vessel Owners (NAPVO) at the founding of the association in 1971; the predecessor of the Passenger Vessel Association.
Captain William “Bill” Bowell, Sr., was the Association’s first President, a position he held from 1971 to 1979. He was also the founder of the Padelford Packet Co. in St. Paul, MN.
Capt. Bowell started in the boat business in 1951 when he bought his first vessel. Later, after spotting a gap in the market for excursion boats on the Upper Mississippi, Capt. Bowell commissioned the Dubuque Boat and Boiler Works to construct a paddlewheel-operated vessel and named it Jonathan Padelford, which was put into service in 1970 from Harriet Island in St. Paul, MN.
Capt. Bowell has donated many of his personal items of books and art to the National Mississippi River Museum in Dubuque. He was also instrumental in the creation of the National Rivers Hall of Fame. He officially opened his library in the Rivers Museum in 2004.
Throughout his life, Capt. Bowell has owned or operated 25 vessels of various shapes, sizes and functions. He has been an integral part of the growth of the passenger vessel community and is the author of “Ol’ Man River: Memoirs of a Riverboat Captain,” which was published in 2005.
Jack Trotter was PVA’s First Vice President. In the early 1970s, he operated the Arkansas Explorer, an overnight cruise vessel on the Arkansas River. As the Secretary of NAPVO, he lobbied for better insurance rates for passenger vessels, adopted operating standards, and promoted passenger travel on the nation's inland waterways. Mr. Trotter passed away on October 22, 2006.
Dennis Trone was PVA’s first Secretary/Treasurer. He entered the passenger vessel industry in 1971 when he built and designed a vessel for himself, after a career of designing and building passenger vessels for many operators. His vessel, the Julia Belle Swain, was later joined by its sister vessel, the Twilight, which was operated on the Upper Mississippi River until 2006 when it was bought by PVA members Kevin and Carrie Stier. Dennis Trone passed away on May 5, 2008.
The inductees were recognized at a special dinner commemorating PVA’s 40th Anniversary