Sharing A Love For The Water


The Boating Retirees

Edited By Ann Dermody
Published: October/November 2013

Whether planned or by chance, these retirees have incorporated boating into their golden years in fun and unusual ways.

Coming Full Circle

From childhood memories to retirement, Ray Bixler's heart has drawn him to Lake of the Ozarks boating.

My journey to Lake of the Ozarks began as a small boy. We lived in St. Louis where my father was an electrician at Anheuser-Busch. Every year we vacationed at the lake, first at the now-defunct Kalfran Lodge, then at dozens of other resorts. I met my first love, and had my first kiss, on a dock at that lake. I married and came back to the lake in 1992. My wife wasn't a boater, and by then I was a boater more than ever. I left the lake several times, boating on the Mississippi, then the Florida Keys, but as I approached 60, I knew where my heart wanted me to be.

Photo of Ray Bixler

Now divorced, my ex and my three children all live in St. Louis. I am retired and live in a one-bedroom condo in Camdenton. It's a low-profile and low-expense existence. This lake requires just the right size boat, and I now have a single-engine Doral Prestancia. Its two miles per gallon fits my pocketbook just fine. On dry land I spend my time restoring a 14-foot red Chrysler Mustang — the boat Elvis used in "Clambake" — that's been in my family for 50 years. My dad bought it when I was 17, eventually gave it to my brother-in-law, then to his son, and now it's come to me. There are always lots of things going on at the lake. Most importantly, life.


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