William B. Eiseman, Jr., 94; past president of Temple Israel

William B. Eiseman

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

William B. “Bill” Eiseman, Jr., co-founder of the U.S. Tape and Label Corp., a past president of Temple Israel and a longtime member of the New Mount Sinai Cemetery Association, died Friday, July 27, 2012 at St. Mary’s Health Center in Richmond Heights. He was 94. Family members said that Mr. Eiseman was leaving his condo at the Plaza Residences in Clayton last Monday to meet friends for lunch, when he fell in the lobby and sustained a broken neck.

Mr. Eiseman was born in St. Louis on Jan. 16, 2012. His father, William B. Eiseman, Sr., who had been a successful businessman, “lost everything” during the Great Depression, family members said. William Eiseman, Jr. graduated from University City High School in 1935 and attended Washington University before he was drafted during World War II.

Mr. Eiseman rose to the rank of captain in the Army Air Forces, and was in charge of an all African-American maintenance unit in Guam. “He learned through this experience that these men fought and sometimes died for the same country which at the time denied blacks their full civil rights, and that everyone should be treated fairly regardless of race or religion,” his son William B. Eiseman III recalled.

Mr. Eiseman and his business partner, Alan Ross, pooled their resources and started the U.S. Tape and Label Corp., which makes pressure-sensitive labels at its facility in the Westport area. A pressure-sensitive label is affixed to a bottle or container, such as bottles of beer or nail polish remover. He was highly regarded by his employees for his practice of promoting from within. He retired from the business in 2000. One of his sons, Jim Eiseman of Frontenac, now heads the firm, which employs 80 people.

Rabbi Emeritus Mark Shook of Temple Israel, who officiated at Mr. Eiseman’s funeral at the temple on Sunday, praised Mr. Eiseman for being “a temple guy and a (New Mount Sinai) Cemetery guy.”  Mr. Eiseman was a past president of Temple Israel and a longtime board member of the congregation. 

“Whenever Bill spoke at a board meeting, he always managed to find just the right words to bring the members together regardless of how serious a disagreement might have been,” said Shook. “All of the rabbis at Temple Israel truly loved him.”

Mr. Eiseman served on the board of directors of the New Mount Sinai Cemetery Association for 50 years, and was a past president of the board, which manages the cemetery that is co-owned by Temple Israel, Congregation Shaare Emeth and B’nai El Temple. “Bill was our ‘senior statesman’ and served with incredible loyalty and devotion,” said Daniel Brodsky, director of the New Mount Cemetery. He was also a former board member of the Central Agency for Jewish Education.

In remarks at Mr. Eiseman’s funeral, his son Jim Eiseman described a trip he had taken with his father and brother, which included a final stop at Mount Rushmore in Rapid City, S.D. It was “a monument Dad always dreamed of seeing,” said his son. “It was truly awesome. As I look back on the four great faces on Mount Rushmore — Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt — on my own Mount Rushmore, I would add the face of another great man, Bill Eiseman.”

Mr. Eiseman’s stepdaughter, Susie Mariconi of Ladue, said in her remarks, “Bill was a man of the highest integrity, a true gentleman, a class act, as we all called him. He lived his life according to a few guiding principles…Reach for the stars, he would say. You may not reach them, but you will pick up much along the way.”

Mr. Eiseman’s stepson, Stephen Wolff, said, “Bill led by example and his example was exemplary. His was a life of service to and provision for others. He was a self-made man and he was a selfless man.”

Mr. Eiseman married the former Rita Wolff, Ms. Mariconi’s mother, on June 16, 1977. They were married for 35 years. They loved to travel, and Rita Eiseman said they had been planning a second honeymoon trip before he passed away. “We had a wonderful life together and I am grateful for every moment of it,” she told the Jewish Light.

In addition to his wife, two sons, stepdaughter and stepson, Mr. Eiseman’s survivors include seven grandchildren.

Memorial contributions preferred to Temple Israel, #1 Rabbi Alvan D. Rubin Drive, St. Louis, Mo. 63141, or to the charity of the donor’s choice.

Following the funeral service at Temple Israel, burial was at the New Mount Sinai Cemetery.