Riverboat gaming pioneer, Robert Kehl dies

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Robert Kehl (Photo from ClintonHerald.com)

Robert Kehl, the man who was granted the first riverboat gambling license in the nation, has died.

According to Kehl’s obituary on the Quad City Times’ website, the 78-year-old died Wednesday, July 3, 2013, at home.

Kehl created the riverboat tourism industry in Dubuque, and according to Radio Iowa, he and his wife began operating a riverboat in 1973.

At age 18 Kehl started his first business and had 27 different businesses during his career. In 1986 Kehl received the National Small Business Person of the Year Award from the Small Business Administration.

The visitation will be held from 3 p.m.- 8 p.m. on Friday, July 5 at the Kehl Center on Clarke University’s campus in Dubuque. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 6 at St. Columbkille Catholic Church in Dubuque. Burial will be in Mount Olivet Cemetery.

Surviving are his wife, Ruth; his children, Robert A. (Tina) Kehl, Tina (PJ) Anglin, Cyndi (Rick) Winter, Dan Kehl (Leslie Funk), and Kevin (Barb) Kehl; eight grandchildren, Krysti Kehl, Alex Kruse, Jake and Jordan Winter, Cody and Tanner Kehl, Andrew and Susan Kehl; and four siblings, William (Mary) Kehl, George Kehl, Lucille Eccher, and Catherine May.