One of Washington’s greatest advocates and leading lights has passed.
Richard “Dick” Hirschl, 88, died Sunday.
Hirschl served as mayor of Washington from 1968 to 1978 and also was a prolific volunteer in the city he loved.
He will be remembered as a man who cared deeply about his community and a progressive leader you could count on to get things done.
Hirschl was a savvy businessman who brought that experience and expertise to city hall during a time when the city was experiencing dramatic growth.
He was a visionary who saw Washington’s potential and wasn’t afraid to think big. While mayor, Hirschl was instrumental in helping pass a 1-cent sales tax for needed capital improvements.
That revenue source continues to enjoy broad public support as a mechanism to address critical improvements to this day. We can thank Hirschl for helping get it started and for his stewardship in making sure the revenue was spent wisely.
Few mayors accomplished as much as Hirschl did in his 10 years of public service.
But Hirschl probably touched more lives with his decades of community volunteer service. He served on the St. Francis Hospital advisory and governing board and later became a champion of St. John’s Mercy Hospital — serving as the first president of its Foundation Board.
He was the first chairman of the WINGS organization in the Washington School District and was part of a group of civic leaders that established the YMCA in Washington.
Hirschl was an active member of his church, a volunteer for Meals on Wheels and a longtime member of the Washington Civic Orchestra, Civic Chorus and the St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra.
Hirschl had impeccable manners and brought class and grace to every endeavor he pursued. He was a devoted family man and all-around good guy.
He was a man for all seasons and a trusted friend.
He will be missed.