Bob Dickey ’54 publishes “Greyhound to Vegas: The Odyssey of Hilda Reynolds Krause”
Bob Dickey ’54 has published “Greyhound to Vegas: The Odyssey of Hilda Reynolds Krause,” a biography of the life and sensational homicide of a successful Kentucky entrepreneur.
In the 1930’s, after a childhood growing up in a West Virginia lumber camp, Hilda Stout moved to Bowling Green, Ky., where she opened a café in the local Greyhound bus station. The café flourished, eventually becoming a local landmark, and was later expanded to a second successful restaurant and cafeteria in Cave City, Ky.
After divorcing her first husband, Charles Reynolds, Hilda married Marvin Krause, an inveterate gambler who introduced her to the world of casinos — a world that led her to invest the profits from her restaurants in the Riviera Hotel and Casino, one of the first built on the Las Vegas Strip, and later the Hotel and Casino de Capri in Havana, Cuba. The revolution in the 1950s led to her expulsion from Cuba, but not before she had several memorable encounters with Fidel Castro.
Building on her successes, Krause became a co-founder of Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace. But on the morning of Super Bowl VIII in 1974, her violent, bloody assassination became one of Las Vegas’ most notorious murders.
In contrast to her own career, Hilda’s only child, Charles H. Reynolds, fashioned a career as a trial lawyer, bank president and Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court, which is how Dickey became acquainted with Krause’s story.
“After graduating from Vanderbilt Law School, I became associated with the Bell, Orr and Reynolds law firm in Bowling Green,” Dickey says. “One of the partners, Charles Reynolds, did the actual hiring, beginning a friendship that lasted until his death in 1995. He was the only child of ‘Greyhound’’s heroine, whom I met on one occasion when she was visiting her son in Bowling Green. So, early on I knew a little bit about her exciting, but tragically ended, career.”
But a long and successful legal career caused Dickey to put his writing aspirations on hold.
“I wrote a ton of stuff while practicing law for 40 years, all of it the legal variety ranging from pleadings to briefs,” Dickey says. “None of it was very literary, although I occasionally tried to liven up an otherwise ‘dry’ brief. A good example: where the big question was jurisdiction between Kentucky and West Virginia, rather than quoting a legal treatise, I led off my brief with a quote from John Denver’s ‘Country Roads,’ something about going back to ‘West Virginia, mountain mama …’ I think that got the judge’s attention!
“In the long run, legal writing was altogether helpful when I turned to books,” he continues. “It taught me a lot about organization and focus when you are trying to tell a story.”
Dickey credits some of his Centre connections for help along the way.
“During my senior year at Centre my girlfriend, Joy Bartz ’57 (who is now my wife), and I dreamed of living on the Left Bank and writing novels, both of us being heavily under the Hemingway influence,” Dickey says. “We never wrote those novels, but Joy is an outstanding editor.
“I’m also forever indebted to the late Dr. Frank Heck, professor of history, for teaching the importance of thorough research and attention to details. The late Dr. Charles Hazelrigg, professor of English, also helped develop my writing skills.”
Jack Montgomery, librarian, author and associate professor at Western Kentucky University, wrote in a review in “The Amplifier” magazine on Sept. 13, “[Dickey] is a master story-teller and you’ll find yourself genuinely enchanted by this incredible story of people, power, sex, intrigue, murder and money.”
“Greyhound” will be the subject of Western Kentucky University’s Kentucky Live! series on Oct. 13 in Bowling Green, followed by a program on Oct. 15 at the Hardin County Public Library in Elizabethtown. Dickey will also be at the Kentucky Book Fair in Frankfort on Nov. 12.