Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

David Mesker, Former Chairman of the Board of Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Dies

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

David Mesker, Former Chairman of the Board of Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Dies

Article excerpt

David Mesker was a civic-minded Renaissance man, well-read and well-educated, with wide-ranging interests, firm likes and dislikes, known both for his generosity and his distaste for cutting corners.

"Anything he got involved in, it was 'Do it first class, or don't even bother,'" said a longtime friend and colleague, Spencer Burke. "He was a fiercely competitive tennis and squash player.

Tennis courts in St. Louis tend to crack after about three years, because the clay in the ground shifts. David had learned about a new way of doing it, called post-tension concrete construction, that wouldn't crack. When they were redoing the Dwight Davis Tennis Center in Forest Park, everybody else wanted to build it the traditional way, but he said no, and they did it his way. Those tennis courts will last 50 years."

David Warren Mesker died Sunday (Aug. 9, 2015) at St. Luke's Hospital. A resident of Florissant, he was 84 and had leukemia.

A member of a family whose St. Louis roots go back to the 1850s, he was the son of Francis A. and Pauline C. Mesker. Mr. Mesker attended the Community School and St. Louis Country Day School; after receiving his degree from Amherst College, he served in the Army Counter Intelligence Corps in Germany.

His father was president of the family business, Mesker Brothers Iron Works. Mr. Mesker joined the company after his military service, then joined A.G. Edwards in 1962 as vice president for finance and compliance. He was a partner and a member of the board of directors.

"He worked for 30 years assembling an extraordinary corporate collection of art and all kinds of interesting things" for A.G. Edwards, recalled Burke, who first met Mr. Mesker as an 8-year-old tennis player, was later hired by him to work at the brokerage firm and was a successor as chairman of the board of Opera Theatre of St. Louis. "He was skeptical about high prices; he was a skinflint bargain hunter with a great eye."

Mr. Mesker, a member of the OTSL board since 1984 and its chairman from 1996 to 2001, was a familiar presence at the opera company. …

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