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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

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Remembering: Vinton Crosby

Remembering: Vinton Crosby

Crosby Tugs founder, president was "a true southern gentleman"

At 12 years old, Vinton Crosby left school and hopped on a tug boat. Years later, he approached his son, Kurt, who was studying physical education to become a coach, with a business idea. The two founded the Galliano-based Crosby Tugs in 1977.

Crosby, a Golden Meadow native and Houma resident, died Monday at age 76.

Kurt Crosby said he learned the value of hard work from his father as they grew the company to include more than 120 vessels and 720 employees.

"He had an attitude of never quitting, no matter how bad it is," he said. "He had the attitude where if he wanted something, there was no stopping him. When someone would tell him no, he would work that much harder to make it happen. He was always challenging himself."

He said his dad experienced heart failure last week while returning home from a Bayou Lafourche dredging event in Donaldsonville. Some Good Samaritans stopped to perform CPR, but the family never found out who they were.

Kurt Crosby said his dad had a heart attack and stroke 16 years ago.

"The doctor told us he didn't have much time to live, and look what he accomplished in those 16 years," he said.

Along with being company president, Vinton Crosby was a president of the Greater Lafourche Port Commission, admiral for the Golden Meadow-Fourchon Tarpon Rodeo and king of the Krewe of Neptune and seafood festival in Galliano. He also belonged to the state thoroughbred, quarter horse and cattlemen's associations, Louisiana Boxing Commission, Propeller Club and the Masons, and he was the Lafourche Parish Chamber of Commerce's Businessman of the Year.

Crosby's wife, Sam, said they were married for a little over a year but had known each other since 2003. She called him her soulmate whom she couldn't replace.

"He was a man with a lot of integrity and honesty," she said. "I would call him probably one of the last few gentlemen – a true southern gentleman. I'll never find another husband that treats me the way he did, with respect."

She said Crosby embraced her children and grandchildren as his own. He was a man of great faith, she added, and the couple frequently prayed the rosary together.

Sam Crosby said she and her husband called his horses their babies and that racing helped him through chemotherapy after he was diagnosed with lymphoma. They named their "All Right Stables" after his famous saying, "All right, all right."

Even amid the oil bust of the mid-1980s and struggling industry today, Crosby persevered, his wife said. His employees were like family, and he looked forward to visiting the shipyards.

"He was slow to anger," she said. "When he went through his chemo, not once did he get angry or question God. He was very strong and courageous."

Though he married Crosby's sister, Larry Griffin said the two men were more like brothers than brothers-in-law.

Just two years apart, they worked together for several years before going their separate ways, still talking over the phone nearly every day.

Blake Dardar, who works in sales and marketing for Crosby Tugs, said he knew Crosby for about 30 years.

"It was my understanding of how he ran his business and treated his employees that led me to work for him," he said. "He was always trying to understand the business, what direction it was going in and how we could better serve the customers."

Dardar said for about 10 years, he and Crosby shared the tradition of going to the New Orleans racetrack on Thanksgiving Day. Crosby had recently purchased three young horses and was looking forward to seeing them run.

Crosby leaves a legacy his descendants can be proud of, his wife said. He was loving, generous, humble and had a positive effect on everyone he met.

"From the rich to the poorest people, he didn't see that," she said. "He thought everyone was equal. He felt everyone was rich in their own way. ... He just made everyone feel that they were important and could accomplish anything they wanted."

This story has been reprinted with permission from the Houma Courier / Daily Comet. Staff Writer Bridget Mire can be reached at 448-7639 or Follow her on Twitter @bridget_mire.