W.A. ‘Peanut’ Hollinger Dies In Paducah, Ky.
W.A. “Peanut” Hollinger, a much-storied entrepreneur from Paducah, Ky., and Eustis, Fla., who had been involved in almost every aspect of the river business at one time or another during his long career, died April 15 in Paducah at the age of 83. For the last 25 years or so, operating as First Marine Properties, he had dedicated himself to developing a river terminal and container port in Calvert City, Ky., on the Tennessee River; he began on the river as a deckhand when he was 13, having run away from home to work on the Saint Francis River hauling logs.
Hollinger would go on to become the youngest licensed first-class pilot on the Mississippi River, eventually rising to the rank of captain on some of the most powerful towboats on the river. He told WJ reporter Jeff Yates he used to run the Arkansas and White rivers before they were navigable, “when the only way you could get in and out of there was in a flood.”
Later, his entrée into the construction and repair side of the business occurred when he assumed ownership of a struggling shipyard from a friend he was asked to assist. This in turn led to his operating a fleet of towboats and barges along with a drydock and repair operation in Greenville, Miss., and then in Alton, Ill. During his career, he launched several successful marine ventures.
On retiring from the boat and barge business, he turned his attention to developing the 700-acre river terminal at Calvert City, oftentimes manning the earthmoving equipment himself. He could also often be found on his houseboat, Fat Lady Pie, which he converted from a towboat owned by Sinclair Oil Company