Bill Joiner 1941 – 2020

Bill Joiner c 1950

Troas (Bones) Joiner was the Joiner in Steinhoff, Kirkwood & Joiner Construction Co. that built roads and bridges all over the region. Bones and Lil, as we called her, had a son William who was about six years older than me. 

He was Billy, which morphed into Bill, much like I tried to shed Kenny for Ken when I got older and left town. Because of our age difference, we didn’t hang out together much.

I don’t know where these photos were taken, but it must have been someplace special for us to dress up like this. I look like I’m about two or three.

Bill died October 9, 2020

Ken Steinhoff-Bill Joiner c 1950

William “Bill” Troas Joiner, 79, of Cape Girardeau passed away Friday, Oct. 9, 2020, at Heartland Care and Rehab.

He was born May 27, 1941, to Troas and Lillian Sharp Joiner.

He was a graduate of Southeast Missouri State University and owner of Solar Pools, Inc.

Bill was a member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. He was a sports car enthusiast, enjoyed watching Cardinals baseball and loved the barbecue from Pilot House.

He is survived by cousins, Larry Bonnell and Susan Hanvy.

I saw him at his son’s funeral

Ken Steinhoff-Bill Joiner c 1950

He was preceded in death by his parents and his son, William Troas Joiner II.

Visitation will be from 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesday at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.

Funeral will follow at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the church, with Pastor Weston Wildauer officiating. Burial will follow at Cape County Memorial Park Cemetery.

A very special “thank you” to Heartland Care and Rehab and Crown Hospice for the loving and compassionate care that was given to Bill.

Memorial contributions may be given to Crown Hospice.

Ford and Sons Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

We took my first plane ride together

I did a blog post in 2014 about a seaplane ride on the Lake of the Ozarks, probably around 1952. That’s Bones, Dad, me, and Billy (he hadn’t become Bill yet). By this time, he had adopted his signature buzz cut hairstyle. Dad was sporting the hairstyle that I would follow not too many years in the future.


First Plane Ride

Seaplane ride w Ken Steinhoff, Troas Joiner, Bill Joiner, LV Steinhoff c 1952This tiny scrapbook looks like it captured my first plane ride when I was about four years old. Lake of the Ozarks kept twitching in the back of my mind. Then, I thought “Bagnell Dam,” not knowing for sure if the two phrases were connected.

Wikipedia provided the answer: Bagnell dam impounds the Osage River creating the Lake of the Ozarks. It is 148 feet tall and 2,543 feet long. Construction started in 1929 and was finished in 1931. The Lake of the Ozarks has a surface area of 55,000 acres, over 1,150 miles of shoreline and stretches 92 miles from end to end, making it one of the largest man-made lakes in the world and the largest in the United States at that time.

Dad, the Joiners and me

Seaplane ride w Ken Steinhoff, Troas Joiner, Bill Joiner, LV Steinhoff c 1952Troas “Bones” Joiner is on the left. He was the Joiner part of Steinhoff, Kirkwood and Joiner Construction. Bones was a ruddy-faced, good-hearted man who knew his way around a wrench and was artist with a bulldozer. He was a Cat skinner of the first order. His son, Bill, is on the right. I’m sitting on Dad’s lap.

Bagnell Dam a boost during the Depression

The concept of a hydro electric power plant on the Osage River was first introduced by a Kansas City developer as long ago as 1912. Ralph Street managed to put together the funding to construct a dam across the Osage River and began building roads, railroads and support structures necessary to begin construction of a dam that would impound a much smaller lake than what is presently known as Lake of the Ozarks. Sometime in the mid-1920s, Street’s funding dried up and he had to abandon the idea of the first hydroelectric power plant on the Osage River.

 Upon Street’s failure to deliver the power plant, Union Electric Power and Light stepped in with an engineering firm from Boston, Massachusetts, and designed and constructed Bagnell Dam in one of the most unlikely spots along the Osage River.

 Many thought the $30 million project would be a disaster with the stock market crash of 1929, but it proved to be a boost to many families in the area as well as the hundreds who traveled across the country seeking work.

 By today’s standards, all construction was done by hand, and the equipment used in the construction was quite primitive. The construction of Bagnell Dam was completed and Lake of the Ozarks was a full reservoir in fewer than two years.

The first of many plane rides

Seaplane ride w Ken Steinhoff, Troas Joiner, Bill Joiner, LV Steinhoff c 1952I don’t have any recollection of my first plane ride. Not only was it a small plane, it was a seaplane on top of that. I think I’ve only flown in a pontoon plane two or three times, once to the Dry Torguas and back (obviously).

I’ve spent hundreds of hours in tiny aircraft and helicopters over the years. I’ve always felt more comfortable in them than in commercial airliners where you are treated like cattle. I have plenty of scary war stories about flying, but there’s something comforting about sitting next to the pilot when he says, “Oops.”

Was the dam builder superstitious?

Here’s an intriguing factoid: Construction of the dam allowed for thirteen floodgates, as the original design called for. However, only twelve floodgates were installed, and the thirteenth spillway opening is walled shut with concrete. The engineers calculated that twelve floodgates provided a large enough margin of safety. It may be apocryphal that Union Electric officials did not want to jinx the dam with the unlucky number 13.