Obituary Notices

Tim Thomas, Eagle Marine VP, Died November 27

Tim Thomas
Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas, vice president of Eagle Marine Industries, St. Louis, died November 27. A resident of Collinsville, Ill., he was 64. After receiving his MBA from Washington University, he went to work for Arthur Anderson in St. Louis as a CPA. He started his river career in 1980 by joining Eagle Marine as a vice president. Over the next 35 years, with “his keen financial abilities,” he helped Eagle Marine grow from a harbor service to a multidimensional, full-service barge line and terminal company.

In the 1980s, he was instrumental in starting Riverport Terminal in Sauget, Ill, across from St. Louis, which he developed into a multifaceted facility that included a grain terminal, fertilizer distribution warehouse and ethanol tank storage farm. In 1993, he helped negotiate a major barge operating agreement between Eagle Marine and Wall Street investment bank Lazard Freres.

“Tim was such an exceptional financial talent, Eagle almost lost him to Lazard,” said Dick Burke, president of Eagle. “He was so good, they wanted to hire him and move him to New York.”

Also in 1993, he teamed up with Dale Sondgeroth and Burke to start River City Landscape Supply, which, over the next 15 years, became one of the largest and most successful manufacturers and suppliers of bagged and bulk landscape products in the Midwest.

In 1999, Thomas again partnered with Eagle Marine, this time to start Eagle Fabrication LLC, a shipyard across from St. Louis, that specializes in building all types of quality, competitively-priced flat deck barges. This includes ABS-classed barges for use in the offshore and blue water trade. To date, Eagle Fabrication has produced 100 barges including the first barge ever built in Deadhorse on the north slope of Alaska. Matt Thomas, Tim’s son, now runs Eagle Fabrication “in the same tradition as his father,” said Burke.

“One of Tim’s proudest projects was converting the laid-up towboat John H. MacMillan Jr. into a floating museum boat mv. City of St. Louis, located next to the Gateway Arch on the St. Louis riverfront,” recalled Burke. The boat was a popular venue for visitors and school field trips, providing the opportunity to have a hands-on experience on a working towboat. It also showcased the riverfront with jazz and blues concerts on weekends. The MacMillan was on the riverfront from 1985 to 1989, when it was rebuilt and returned to service.

“Everyone who worked with or for Tim admired him for the way he treated people. He was known to be most generous with anyone who ever needed help,” Burke said.

He is survived by his wife, Cindy; two sons, Matthew and Craig; daughter, Katie; nine grandchildren; a brother, Tom; and a sister, Patricia.