Betty Blake Obituaries

Above: Cincinnati obituary (publication unknown)

April 14, 1982
Obituary: Betty Blake, Ex-Officer Of the Delta Queen Co.
United Press International (UPI), published in The New York Times

Betty Blake, who was president of the Delta Queen Steamboat Company and later had her own public relations concern, died today of cancer. She was 51 years old.

Miss Blake, in a 17-year career with the steamboat company, made the Delta Queen a highly successful tourist attraction. The steamer, with a passenger capacity of 188, still makes excursions ranging from one day to two weeks on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.

Miss Blake, a native of Carlisle, Ky., was a University of Kentucky business administration graduate. After doing promotion work for a Cincinnati television station and later for the steamboat Avalon, now the Belle of Louisville, she became the Delta Queen Steamboat Company's first public relations director in 1962.

She quickly moved up, serving as vice president of marketing, executive vice president and general manager before becoming president in 1976.

Miss Blake left the company in 1979 to start her own public relations concern, Betty Blake & Company.

April 13, 1982
Cincinnati Post

Betty Blake, who rose from public relations director of the Delta Queen to president of the Delta Queen Steamboat Company, died early today at her father's home in Georgetown, Kentucky. Miss Blake, 51, was hired in 1962 as the Delta Queen's first public relations director and moved up through vice president of marketing, executive vice-president and general manager to president in 1976. She left the company in 1979 to start her own public relations firm, Betty Blake &apm; Co. A graduate in business administration from the University of Kentucky, Miss Blake first came to Cincinnati to work in the talent promotions for WLW-TV.

She later worked for the Steamer Avalon, now the Belle of Louisville, before joining the Delta Queen Company. Miss Blake's appointment as president was in keeping with the Delta Queen's line's predecessor, the Greene Line, which at times was headed by two Greene family women, Captain Mary Greene and daughter-in-law Letha Greene. Miss Blake led the fight in the 1970s to get the 53 year old Delta Queen exempted from the federal Safety at Sea Law, which would have forced it out of service. She also convinced the owners of the Delta Queen to build a sister ship, the $24 million Mississippi Queen. The bigger ship carries 385 passengers, compared to the Delta Queen's 188.

Miss Blake initiated the first sternwheeler boat races on the Ohio River 19 years ago. The Belle of Louisville usually wins the annual race over the Delta Queen. This year, Miss Blake's firm is bringing the Natchez from New Orleans to join the race at Louisville, Kentucky.

She had been active for 25 years in promoting the Ohio River and travel and tourism in Cincinnati. For this work, Ben Bernstein, owner of BB Riverboats, christened one of his boats the Betty Blake two years ago. Earlier this year, Miss Blake was presented the Captain Cincinnati Award from the Greater Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau. Since 1979, Miss Blake had been chairman of the tourism and marketing committee of the Convention and Visitors Bureau. She was on the board of the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce and was a past president of the local chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. She also worked with others in the establishment of the new Cincinnati Fire Museum across from City Hall.

Miss Blake had also served on the Cincinnati Mayor's Task Force for Travel and Tourism and was involved in preparing the program book for Cincinnati.

Among the many honors she received were a listing in Who's Who of American Women in 1977, presentation of the Visitor's Counsel Tourism Award in 1976, by the American Travel Industry Assocation, and the Conversation Award presented by the Society for American Travel Writer's in 1970.

The family requests that memorials be made to the Cincinnati Fire Museum, 315 W. Court Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202.

Eulogy and Obituary by Bill Muster