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Local Ferry Chairman Dies

May 14th, 2013 - By Charles Choate

Thomas Swayne Byrd

Thomas Swayne Byrd

Funeral services were held Monday for a Southeast Missouri man, whose passion for the Hickman-Dorena Ferry, and other river related ventures, was felt in multiple states.

80 year old Thomas Swayne Byrd, of Charleston, was the Chairman of the Hickman-Dorena Ferry and worked tirelessly to ensure its continued service to the area.

He had many friends in western Kentucky and northwest Tennessee, and was a frequent visitor to Hickman and Union City.

Fulton County Judge Executive David Gallagher called Byrd “a fine man and outstanding gentleman” and said he would be missed.

Gallagher said Byrd felt that western Kentucky, northwest Tennessee and southeast Missouri were neglected, and thought the Mississippi River was their key to success.

Gallagher said Byrd was a frequent visitor at his office and had expressed excitement about the Discovery Park of America project in Union City and how it was going to be a great assett for the ferry and region.

Byrd was recently instrumental in the acquiring of a new, larger barge for the ferry, which allowed for a greater volume of transportation across the river.

At the time of his death, he was working on a project to raise the landing sites in both Kentucky and Missouri, to continue service during high water periods.