Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bob Gaddy Dies: Banker Who Helped Restore the Splendor of Tower Grove Park

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bob Gaddy Dies: Banker Who Helped Restore the Splendor of Tower Grove Park

Article excerpt

Bob Gaddy helped lead the fight to restore Tower Grove Park after the city's second-largest park began to deteriorate in the 1960s.

He raised money to restore it to its former splendor. He helped turn the park into one of the most popular sites in the St. Louis area for birds and bird watchers.

Mr. Gaddy died last week at age 89 after a heart attack.

He was a lawyer who became president of the old Tower Grove Bank and Trust Co., just south of the park.

He once helped a young medical student who had written a bad check to his landlord, knowing that it would bounce.

The student, John Chernik, went to his bank to apologize and to apply for a $1,000 loan.

The bank turned him down.

Mr. Gaddy, the bank president, overheard the student's tale. He pulled out his own checkbook and wrote Chernik a check to cover his rent.

He didn't ask for a promissory note or interest. He didn't even expect to be repaid, according to Mr. Gaddy's family and an account on the website at St. Louis University.

Chernik graduated from SLU's medical school in 1965 and became a successful neurologist. He not only repaid the loan, in 1997 he established the Robert J. Gaddy Loan Fund for students at SLU's medical school.

Students continue to get scholarships from the fund, a spokeswoman for the university said Wednesday.

Robert Joseph Gaddy was reared in St. Joseph, Mo., the son of a circuit court judge.

He enlisted in the Army Air Forces in 1943, served as a B-24 pilot and flew 22 missions in New Guinea, the Philippines, what is now Taiwan, Borneo and off the South China coast.

He was discharged as a lieutenant and attended Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., where he saw Winston Churchill give his famous Iron Curtain speech in 1946.

Mr. Gaddy went on to attend Washington University School of Law. He met and married another student, Martha Dunbar. They graduated in 1950, and he worked briefly in her father's law firm.

He joined the bank in 1958 and became president two years later at age 35. In 1971, he was recruited to join the board of commissioners that governs Tower Grove Park.

Tower Grove is the next largest park in the city after Forest Park. …

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