Stanley H. Kays, 96, of McNabb, died on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, at his residence.

Celebration of Life will be from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, at Dysart – Cofoid Funeral Chapel, Granville, Ill. Cremation rites have been accorded.

Stanley was born on June 21, 1918, in rural McNabb to John Byrd Kays and Luella Sarah (Johnston) at home on their farm. He was the youngest of seven children. He married Pat Tuetken on Jan. 20, 1978, in Alton, Ill.

He started his career on the river in February 1937 as a mess boy, sailor man and deck hand on the stern wheeler steamboat, E.D. Kenna owned by Ohio River Company. In February 1939, he worked as a deckhand on the W.AA. Shephard (a towboat) owned by the Central Barge Line. Later that year he worked as a cook and deckhand on the Kenton and then a deckhand and second mate on the Alexander McKenzie. In 1940, he became mate on the Sylivia T and by 1941 was Captain and pilot on several vessels, including the Kenton, Kosmos, Mustang,  BrokampResoult and Sylvia T.

Stan's early career also included time working on the Calumet on the Illinois River, but he also navigated the Mississippi, Tennessee, Monogahela, Kanawa, Tiger and Ohio Rivers. From 1947-1950, Stan served as chief engineer and asst. engineer on the Runie, Sylvia T and Calumet.

In 1950, Stan moved to shore as foreman of the repair gang in Joliet for Central Barge Line which was then bought by Valley Line in 1952. In 1955, Federal Barge Line hired Stan as the Chicago area manager.

Another change came in 1960 for Stan as Material Service offered him a job as Marine Superintendent, which he kept until 1962 when he went to work for Joliet Marine Supply, a division of Union Mechling, as General Manager. From 1968 – 1969, Stan worked as Marine Superintendent for Wisconsin barge.

In 1969, Stan made his last change as he found a home at SCNO Barge Lines, working as Marine Superintendent in Hartford. Stan made the facility of "Mr. Cole," a well known feature to vessels working the Missouri River. Stan developed a team of employees that did vessel repairs, barge maintenance and salvage. He led the group of captains and pilots that navigated the Missouri River and helped SCNO become a leader on the Missouri River.

In 1978, Stan was asked to manage the SCNO fleet in Luling, La., which he accepted, and where he worked until his retirement in 1988.

Stan Kays is well known in the river industry and his contributions to the training and development of so many people that continue to be industry leaders today is amazing. Stan is truly one of the the pioneers of the modern day towboating industry.

Survivors are his wife, Pat of McNabb; one son, Stanley A. Kays of Houston, Texas; two daughters, Judy Terando of McNabb and Kathy Mekley of McNabb; one stepson, Kenneth Maxeiner of Lake Charles, La.; 15 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

He was preceded in death by his parents, four brothers, two sisters and two sons-in-law, Mark Terando and Bob Mekley, and one stepson and one stepdaughter.

Contributions may be made to the
American Cancer Society, Putnam County Ambulance or St. Margaret's Hospice.

Online condolences may be made to Stanley's family at