Now 91 years young and still active in real estate development on the west side of the lake, Eddie reflected on his rapid advancement in the Army, moving up from infantry corporal his first year to Second Lieutenant less than a year later.

If a roll call of the visionaries, builders and doers around the lake were published, it’s likely Eddie Pue would be near the top of the list.  But the whole Eddie Pue story wouldn’t be complete without recognition of his remarkable US Army career, beginning with his enlistment at age 17 in the small Hill County town of Boerne, (pronounced Burn-ee) Texas, then with a population of 1,271.

Now 91 years young and still active in real estate development on the west side of the lake, Eddie reflected on his rapid advancement in the Army, moving up from infantry corporal his first year to Second Lieutenant less than a year later.

Korea in 1946-47 saw Second Lieutenant Pue acting as Infantry Unit Commander with XXIV Corps.  Among his duties, years before the Korean War began, was gathering the remaining World War II Japanese troops and hold-outs from the peninsula for repatriation back to Tokyo.  Japan had colonized Korea decades earlier

In 1948, next came a 44 month assignment in Japan that supplied foodstuffs to the war ravaged north half of Japan and later focused on a similar food campaign for the southern half, under General MacArthur’s direction.

A 47-month European assignment covering France, Spain, Portugal and North Africa was Eddie’s next stop, again focusing on requisition and delivery of subsistence food to U.S. forces in theater.  

Eddie was Executive Officer for a Major General in 1961, joining the Army’s Quartermaster General’s staff and within a year, moved up as Executive Officer to the Commanding General of the Army Supply and Maintenance Command in Washington, D.C.

When Eddie reached Viet Nam in 1965, he joined General Westmorland’s Mac-V

Staff, overseeing 38,000 troops.  A year later, 425,000 Americans were in uniform in country and part of his job was keeping them armed, clothed and fed.

After 23 years in an enlisted and officer’s uniform, Eddie retired from the Army with 13 awards and decorations at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and turned his focus to civilian life in the Ozarks.  Here, the now-civilian Eddie Pue decided the more or less undeveloped west side of the lake would be a good place to hang his hat.

“We had bought a 440 acre ranch facing Mill Creek on O Road and raised registered cattle.  I decided I could hire someone to look after the cattle while I did something more productive.”  

Eddie’s wife and son lived on the new property while he completed his last tour for the U. S. Army; 13 months in Viet Nam.

For 50 years, Eddie has been active in real estate in the Greenview-Sunrise Beach-Laurie territory and was president of the Lake of the Ozarks Board of Realtors in 1979 and 1980.  Pue founded Laurie Realty in 1967, developed six lakefront subdivisions plus the Sunrise Ridge Condominiums and was named Realtor of the year in 1987.

Eddie’s crowning achievement was the fulfillment of a much-debated idea to link the West Side of the lake with the faster growing towns of Osage Beach, Lake Ozark and nearby.  

“Committees on both sides of the lake had been chasing the idea since the 1950s but no banks would loan the kind of money—some $40 plus million, to finance the project.”

How and from whom to raise money—many millions of dollars, was just one impediment.  Missouri’s DOT had no fund available plus a Missouri state statute outlawed privately owned toll bridges from being built anywhere in the state. 

Seven local and area men, including Eddie conceived the idea of marketing bonds by a major insurance or financial company and thought inviting representatives from Merrill Lynch Financial Services to the lake for a tour would help.

“We knew a bridge would be good for businesses on both sides of the lake, tremendously.”

Dinner at the Blue Heron Restaurant overlooked exactly where the proposed bridge would be built and by that evening, the Merrill Lynch folks were strongly interested.

Simultaneously, the group of seven began lobbying the legislature to abolish the law. It was agreed the bridge would be a non-profit corporation with net bridge user fees being directed toward paying off the bonds.  

This was initially planned as a 30-year payoff project, with the MO-DOT agreeing to take ownership when the last of the bonds are retired.  .

“The bridge was built to MO DOT specifications.  When we pay off the bonds, the bridge will become state property.  There will no longer be a toll charge.”

Eddie Pue will be 92 years old in January and says; “Perhaps it is time for me to slow down.”  He continues to serve as president of the Lake of the Ozarks Community Bridge Board of Directors.  

The Community Bridge bonds have twice seen the interest rate reduced in the years since the Bridge opened.  This allows more of the money gained from bridge tolls to be directed toward the principle plus speeds up the projected final payback.  

“The bridge bond retirement is a full year ahead of schedule and may pick up an additional year allowing debt freedom nine years from now.”

So, how did a young man from Texas find a home and a job in the Missouri Ozarks?

“My wife was from Concordia, Kansas.  I had just received orders to report to the Supply and Maintenance Command in Washington in 1962.  Eva Marie and I were driving from Kansas and we stopped to have a look at the lake.  We both immediately knew this was where we wanted to live.”

Eddie’s wife passed away from cancer 2004.  Their son, Randy, is active in real estate. He is married and the couple have four children.

For anyone considering a military career, Eddie provides the following advice.  “Don’t overlook the educational opportunities that present themselves.  Those are the best keys to advancement in uniform and afterwards.”

Along with a University of Missouri, Columbia Bachelor’s Degree, Eddie completed work at Texas Tech, New Mexico A & M, UCLA at Berkley and the University of Maryland.  In his last five years, Eddie qualified for the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth and the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va.