Limbaughs' patriarch remembered in book

Saturday, November 1, 2003

They came to praise Rush Hudson Limbaugh, the late patriarch of a famous Cape Girardeau family, at the unveiling of a new book about him.

But even the author, retired Southeast Missouri State University history professor George Suggs Jr., couldn't compete with Limbaugh himself -- interviewed on videotape three years before his death.

At a ceremony at Academic Hall Auditorium on Friday afternoon, university video services director David Andrews showed 10 minutes of a two-hour interview he conducted in the fall of 1993.

In the interview, the elderly Limbaugh talked of taking a train trip with his family from Bollinger County to St. Louis to attend the 1904 World's Fair.

Limbaugh recalled it was the first experience with electric lights and eating a hot dog and an ice cream cone.

"It was like going from Earth to heaven for me," he said.

In the tape, Limbaugh, a longtime Cape Girardeau lawyer, talked of honesty.

"Make your word good. Don't try to cheat," he said.

Limbaugh said he was excited about the future.

He died on April 8, 1996, at his Cape Girardeau home at the age of 104.

The new book, "Rush Hudson Limbaugh and His Times: Reflections on a Life Well Lived," came from four taped interviews that Suggs conducted from August 1987 to February 1988.

Southeast Missouri State University Press published the book.

Suggs said he tried in the interviews to capture Limbaugh's "remarkably encyclopedic memory" and his "innate kindness and goodness."

About 40 people attended the ceremony in the auditorium where Rush Hudson Limbaugh once spoke on "the perils of American politics" while a student at the university in 1911.

Several members of the Limbaugh family attended Friday's celebration, including Limbaugh's son, Stephen N. Limbaugh Sr., a federal judge in St. Louis, and grandsons Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr., a Missouri Supreme Court judge, and David Limbaugh, a Cape Girardeau lawyer and syndicated political columnist.

Stephen N. Limbaugh Sr. said his father would have been surprised at all the attention and wondered "what's all the fuss about."

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