Edwin Meissner, Jr., former head of St. Louis Car Co., dies at 101

Edwin B. “Bud” Meissner, Jr.

Edwin Benjamin “Bud” Meissner, Jr., retired longtime head of the St. Louis Car Co., and a second-generation lifelong member of Congregation Shaare Emeth, died Oct. 17 at the age of 101.

Mr. Meissner was born in St. Louis on Dec. 27, 1918, the son of Edwin B. and Edna Rice Meissner. He was a 1936 graduate of Country Day School (now MICDS) and graduated in 1940 with a bachelor’s degree from the Wharton School at the University Pennsylvania.

During World War II he served as a paratrooper with the 13th Airborne from 1943 to 1945.

Mr. Meissner’s wife of 71 years was the late Nina Renard Meissner, an accomplished pianist. She died in 2018. The Meissners were devoted supporters of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and many other cultural and civic causes.

The Meissners had four sons: Edwin B. Meissner III, Wallace Meissner, Robert Meissner and Donald Meissner. The Meissners are also survived by 10 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Within the Jewish community Mr. Meissner was a proud second generation loyal lifetime member of Congregation Shaare Emeth. His father served a record 19 years as president of the Reform congregation.  Mr. Meissner was part of the co-founders group of the local AJC (American Jewish Committee). Mr. Meissner also was former chairman of the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners and former Ladue Police commissioner.  He served on transit committees for Bi-State Development and the East-West Gateway Council of Governments. He was also active with the Humane Society.

Mr. Meissner succeeded his father as head of St. Louis Car, which built the community wide network of streetcars, trolleys and light rail cars not only in St. Louis but in major cities around the world, including Paris.

Mr. Meissner joined St. Louis Car in 1934, serving in various capacities until becoming president and general manager from 1956-1961. He later became president of the St. Louis Car division of General Steel Industries, and then became senior vice president from 1968 until retiring in 1974. He was also a former vice president of the Bakewell Corp. and the Hilliker Corp., a commercial and industrial real estate company.

“On a regular basis someone will approach me and say they knew my father, and what a kind and wonderful guy he was,” said Donald Meissner.  “They will emphasize that he always treated everyone with respect and dignity. I was always amazed at his cheerful energy.  Even when going through tough times, he was able to solve problems, make decisions and help everyone else involved stay strong and positive.” 

In remarks prepared for Mr. Meissner’s funeral service, Rabbi James Bennett of Shaare Emeth said, “All of us at Congregation Shaare Emeth mourn the passing of Edwin “Bud” Meissner, one of the “gedolei hador” — the great leaders of his generation. A longtime member and supporter of our congregation, Bud Meissner was a champion of Reform Judaism and a deeply committed member of the congregation, whose wisdom and leadership shaped our past, present and future.  We extend our sympathy and condolences to his family and pray that his memory will be a blessing.”

Funeral services will be private.