Captain C.W. "Woody" Rushing

Woody Rushing

One of the greatest of the modern river captains to come from the Cape Girardeau area was C. W. "Woody" Rushing. Born into a family of Mississippi sharecroppers, Woody Rushing followed a migration pattern to Arkansas and then southeast Missouri.

Following his graduation from Dielstadt High School, he took a job as a deckhand on a construction boat and worked his way up to pilot. In 1946 he "came ashore" and worked for Missouri Barge Lines, which was positioned on the river near the International Shoe Factory on North Main. A short distance from there on North Main was a small family restaurant, which Woody really liked. He was especially fond of the owner's daughter Evelyn, who became his wife and lifelong partner.

In 1979 Woody and his son Mike created Rushing Marine Corporation, at one time owning and operating three towboats. One of them was named the Evelyn Rushing, in honor of his wife.

Woody was a skilled pilot and became the "resident river expert" in Cape Girardeau. By the time of his death in 1998, he had over sixty years of river experience, observing first-hand the impact of the technological revolution on the river. Radio communication in his view had the greatest impact. He used it to save lives, improve scheduling, and to call Evelyn when he approached Cape Girardeau. No matter when Woody called, Evelyn would drive to the overlook at Cape Rock and be there to wave when Woody passed by. Theirs was a rich and meaningful marriage.

Woody's favorite saying was "The day you die, everything you have will belong to someone else, but what you are is yours forever." He lived his life accordingly. He was a truly great man and a great river man.

Near his death, Captain. C.W. Rushing expressed a desire to do something to help others who are in need, having a soft place in his heart for disadvantaged women and children. With that in mind, his family established the C.W. Rushing Charitable Trust. Since 1999, the Charitable Trust has hosted an annual golf tournament with the proceeds benefiting many charitable organizations, such as the Cape Girardeau Safe House for Women, St.Jude Children's Hospital and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

In 2013, the trust was offically renamed The Rushing Family Trust, in memory of Captain Woody and his wife, Evelyn.