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Builder, philanthropist I.E. Millstone remembered

By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Governor Jay Nixon and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley joined hundreds of other mourners Sunday to pay tribute to St. Louis builder and philanthropist I.E. Millstone.

Millstone's name adorns dozens of buildings throughout the region, including the sanctuary at United Hebrew Congregation, where the mourners gathered.

United Hebrew senior rabbi Howard Kaplansky compared Millstone to Moses- for his ability to lead; Solomon - for his wisdom and construction talents; and Abraham - for the way Millstone cared for both his family and the Jewish community at large.

"I must tell you that I have never met a man or a woman whose life was greater than the sum of Isidore's life," Kaplansky said, noting that he had never been able to call Millstone by the moniker I.E.

Millstone's construction company worked on the second Busch Stadium, the "Meeting of the Waters" fountain outside Union Station, and the double-decker stretch of Interstate 64 that runs through downtown. The Israeli government asked him to build housing, and he was instrumental in building the campus of the Jewish Community Centers near Lindbergh and Schuetz Road - which was, at the time, far away from the center of Jewish life. The facilities there - which bear his name - are now the eastern campus of the JCC. He also helped fund scholarships for students from elementary to college-age.

Millstone went missing May 16th and is presumed dead. Witnesses reported seeing an elderly man leap from the Daniel Boone Bridge that same day.

Former Washington University chancellor William Danforth spoke of the struggles Millstone had faced in the last of his 102 years. The famous emotional strength that had carried Millstone through the deaths of his first and second wives and two children seemed to falter, Danforth said.

"It seems to me that he wanted to remain in charge of his own destiny and did. And, now his wonderful life of service to others is over, while our admiration, our respect, and our love endure," he said.

Millstone is survived by several grandchildren and great grandchildren.