Former Washington mayor Richard “Dick” Hirschl — who volunteered in numerous capacities over several decades — died Sunday.
Hirschl, 88, has a record of more than five decades of volunteer and public service, highlighted by serving 10 years as mayor, from 1968 to 1978.
He arrived on the scene when Washington was still electing councilmen and the mayor by partisan government.
It was during his tenure as mayor that the city proposed and citizens approved a 1-cent sales tax for needed improvements.
The improvements included a new firehouse at Fifth and Stafford streets; new library and police station; swimming pool repairs and expansion; upgrades to the secondary sewage treatment plant; a start on riverfront development and the nonpartisan election system for city offices was established.
Also under his leadership, the engineering department was strengthened; a refuse collection service was implemented; the city dump on the riverfront was moved to South Point and a landfill operation was created; and a more permanent street surfacing program was started.
Hirschl operated a corn cob pipe manufacturing business and also was a stockbroker in Washington for a number of years.
In 2008, Hirschl was presented the 20th Washingtonian Award during the annual Washington Area Chamber of Commerce dinner/program.
He served on the St. Francis Hospital advisory and governing boards during the period when the new hospital was built and continued to serve for a period after the merger with the Sisters of Mercy.
He was the first president of the St. John’s Mercy Hospital Foundation Board.
He served on the governing board that was named to establish the YMCA program in this area.
As the first chairman of the WINGS organization in the Washington School District, Hirschl worked on bond issue and tax increase campaigns. He was a member of Washington Preservation, Inc.
Hirschl was appointed by the governor to serve on the Missouri Health Facilities Review Board.
A member of the St. Peter’s United Church of Christ Council, he served as president in 1963.
He was a Mason for 50 years, and a member of The American Legion Post 218. He served overseas during the Korean War era.
Hirschl also was a volunteer with Meals on Wheels.
For years he was a member of the Washington Civic Orchestra, Civic Chorus and the St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra.
Hirschl also was a former leader of the Republican Party in Franklin County.
He is survived by two children, Ann Hirschl of Kirkwood; and Richard Hirschl and wife Laura, of Chicago; three grandchildren, Aidan Ip, Ava and Vivian Hirschl; and one brother, Harry Hirschl, of Lafayette, Ind.
Hirschl had been residing in a nursing home in St. Louis County near his daughter.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Rosemary Hirschl.
A funeral service will be Saturday, Jan. 20, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Peter’s UCC in Washington. Burial will be in St. Peter’s Church Cemetery.
Visitation will be Friday from 4-7 p.m. at Oltmann Funeral Home in Washington. Memorials to St. Peter’s Church or the St. Louis Philharmonic are preferred.