Birchel Raymond Dew was born in Corning, Ohio, on September 19, 1901. In 1920 he began working for the Missouri Pacific Railroad and continued working there as a brakeman and conductor until 1936. Very early in his career he began collecting railroad memorabilia, saving items he personally used and adding other pieces of historical value. In 1935 he married Irene Mitchell of Hoisington, Kansas. They had two sons, William Ray and Birchel Robert. In 1936 Birchel Raymond, or B.R. as he was known to most, joined the Rock Island Railroad as a trainmaster in Dalhart, Texas. It was there where his son, William, was born in 1937. B.R. was Superintendent in several Midwestern areas and was the Assistant General Manager of the Rock Island Railroad in El Reno, Kansas City, and Des Moines. He and his family moved at least thirteen times while he worked on the Rock Island, but the railroad memorabilia was always packed up and moved along to the next home. B.R. retired in 1965. He died on March 17, 1973 of a heart attack at Iowa Lutheran Hospital in Des Moines. His railroad collection was inherited by his son William. William Ray Dew was born on March 3, 1937, in Dalhart, Texas. B.R. passed the love and excitement of railroading on to Bill and also his younger brother, Bob. Bill worked for the Rock Island himself during his high school and college years. He graduated from Shawnee Mission High School in Kansas City in 1955. In 1960 he married Lynn France. They both graduated from the University of Iowa with Bill obtaining a Juris Doctor degree in 1966. Then they moved to Ottumwa, Iowa, where Bill practiced law in the Griffin, Dew & Kintigh law firm and Lynn taught third grade. In 1972 a daughter, Eilizabeth Anne was born. William Ray Dew died on June 2, 1996 at the age of fifty-nine in a plane crash in Minnesota while returning from a fishing trip in Canada with three friends.
Found in 1 Collection or Record:
Railroad employee and collector. Collection of publications, timetables, photographs, tickets, passes, and artifacts relating to the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railway, as well as other railroads.