Death of Duane "Cowboy" Mintz, Sou.Ry.conductor : LUSENET : Southern Railway : One Thread

I just learned today of the death of retired Southern conductor H. D. "Cowboy" Mintz, who was the senior conductor on the GA division at the time of his retirement. Cowboy, a native of Rockmart GA who grew up within sight of the Rockmart depot and water tank, was the conductor on many of the steam excursions that ran between Atlanta and Chattanooga. He could be recognized by the distinctive passenger conductor's uniform that he designed himself with the western cowboy hat that was his trademark his whole adult life. (Cowboy loved horses as much as trains, which is how his nickname originated). After hearing loss forced his retirement from the railroad, he went to work for several seasons at Six Flags Over Georgia, running the little live steam engines on the line through the Six Flags park. In recent years, he had suffered a series of debilitating strokes, and he had become totally deaf. Cowboy carried as much Southern Railway history in his head as any man I've ever known, and he was a spell-binding story teller. Cowboy always traced the beginning of his hearing loss to the whistle on Ms4 4883. He said that, one rainy night, they were working up Braswell Grade, and the humidity was causing the sand not to flow properly from the sand domes. The enginer sent him out on the running boards with a hammer to bang on the sand pipes to try to get the sand flowing. While Cowboy was out there banging on the sand pipes, the engineer had to blow for the Springdale Road crossing. He said that his ears were ringing for several days after that, and he always thought that was what started his hearing loss. Cowboy was 73 when he died at the home of his daughter in Lindale GA on September 27. He was buried at Rose Hill cemetery in Rockmart, within sight of Southern rails.

-- Lamar Wadsworth (, October 06, 2001

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