Edward F. Regenhardt - Death

Regenhardt Condition Grave

Prominent Girardeau Contractor's Condition Considered Grave.

The condition of Edward F. Regenhardt was serious at 3 p. m. today and relatives were considering sending for a specialist from St. Louis to assist the two local physicians who were attending him today. At noon Mr. Regenhardt's condition was viewed as critical, but he rallied during the early afternoon.
Mr. Regenhardt, a widely known contractor, builder of Academic Hall, Teachers College, and former United States marshal, "has been ill health for months. Not long ago he suffered two strokes and since his return from St. Louis a week ago he had been declining rapidly in spite of expert medical attention.


Long Sickness Is Fatal to Native of City, in His 59th Year; Built Academic Hall; Personal Friend of Former President Taft. 
Edward F. Regenhardt, one of Southeast Missouri's most widely known citizens, died at his home in Cape Girardeau last night shortly after 9 o'clock. He had fought for months to overcome an illness that slowly overpowered a physical giant and the immediate cause of death was described as peritonitis.
Death claimed the man who was described by former President Taft as "The Lighthouse of the Mississippi," in his 59th year and at a time when he was ascending rapidly to a position of affluence through road and street contracting.
Overtaxing himself while building a long stretch of pavement for highway No. 9, northwest of here, last summer, when he had to overcome many obstacles in order to meet the conditions of an exacting contract with the state, Mr. Regenhardt suffered a slight stroke‑the first signal that there are limits to the physical power even of a man of such proportions as "Big Ed," as his friends called him. Later there came another warning signal of the same character, then a general declining and disappearing of the great strength that had attracted attention everywhere Mr. Regenhardt had gone during his busy life. Fearless, he was slow to yield to advice and devoted to his vocation,  he plunged ahead until he had passed the stage where medical skill could be of use.  

Life Ebbed Away.   

One week ago Mr. Regenhardt returned from St. Louis where he had. ‑ specialists and from that, time his vitality ebbed swiftly away ~ until, on Wednesday, it was indicated that the end was near. Two sons,  William McK., and Theodore R., who were overseeing a large road contract near Quincy, Ill., were notified and made a spectacular race to reach their father's side before death stilled the lips that had thundered pleasant words to all who knew him. They missed a train connection at St. Louis and raced to Cape Girardeau by automobile, arriving after life had passed out. 
Edward F. Regenhardt was distinctly a Cape Girardean. He was born here, a son of Mr. and Mrs. William Regenhardt. His father had come here from Germany and was a mason and contractor.
The son went to school here and early attaining a ponderous manhood, elected to follow in the footsteps of his parent. He learned the trade of a brick‑layer and worked on many homes here. Later he went to St. Louis where he followed the same trade, only to return to the home town. 
On September 9, 1891, he married Miss Alvine Theuerkauf. Her father was William Theuerkauf, a baker, who operated a business in the location now occupied by The Model store, on Broadway at Sprigg.   

Four Children Survive.

To this congenial union came four children, all of whom make their homes here. They are Miss Norma, a teacher in the public schools, and William McK., Theodore R., and Edward, all of whom were associated with their father in road contracting work. He also leaves a sister, Mrs. August Weiss, who lives on Perryville Road. 
Like his youngest son, Edward, Mr. Regenhardt was a giant even in his youth. He attained a height that, with his shoes on, was admitted to be six feet, seven inches, and was broad and robust. Boyhood acquaintances often tell of his unusual strength and of his happy nature. 
As a young man he was quickly interested in politics. He enlisted under the banner of the Republicans and was tireless in work for his party. He was a prominent figure at city, county, state and even national conventions. During the time William H. Taft was campaigning for the presidency, Mr. Regenhardt accompanied him across the state and a friendship sprang up then that endured to the end. 
Upon his election President Taft made it a personal matter to appoint his big friend from Missouri to the office of United States marshal of St. Louis, in spite of the fact that the then senator from Missouri had another choice. 

Host to Taft. 

During the time President Taft was in the White House he arranged a trip down the Mississippi river. Cape Girardeau was not on the schedule, but Mr. Regenhardt went to Washington and persuaded the president to alter his plans and put this place on his itinerary. It meant much inconvenience to President Taft, the visit here necessitating his arising at 5 a. m. for his appearance  here at 6 o'clock.
He made a sunrise address on the State Teachers College campus and planted a tree to the presence of one of the greatest and most picturesque crowds ever assembled in Southeast Missouri.
Mr. Regenhardt attracted more attention in the East than in his native state because of his huge portions Once when Mr. Regenhardt was visiting President Taft, ‑ he remarked that he was going to New York City on business: "Well, Ed, do me a favor," answered the President. "When you get there call on Mayor Gaynor. I want him to see a regular he-man from Missouri.” 
Without further discussion the president had Mayor Gaynor called on the telephone and in­formed him of the approaching visit. "That fellow Gaynor thinks `Big Bill' Edwards (who once saved Gaynor's life) is a man and I want to show him he's all wrong," laughed Taft.  
It is needless to say that Mayor Gaynor's staff was waiting for the big Missourian when he arrived and, as President Taft had surmised,showed the Gotham executive that Missouri grows them bigger than Edwards. 

Admired By All.

On the streets in New York, Mr. Regenhardt was an object of envy of  the six‑foot‑tall policemen on Broadway, and when the officers saw the badge of United States marshal on the expansive breast, they couldn't resist expressing their admiration for such a combination for authority. 
Returning to Cape Girardeau at expiration of his term as marshal, Mr. Regenhardt formed an association with the Harrison interests and went extensively into contracting. He built miles of pavement in Poplar Bluff, did the paving at Kennett and Chaffee; laid the slab on a 14‑mile stretch of Highway No. 9 northwest of Cape Girardeau, and at the time of his demise was directing work on  a big road contract in western Illinois, south of Quincy. 
However, as a contractor, Mr. Regenhardt's outstanding achievement was the erection of Academic Hall at the State Teachers College here, described by nationally‑known educators as the finest Teachers College building in America and one of the best and handsomest educational structures in the country. 
The body was taken to the Brinkopf Funeral Home, Broadway and Frederick street, where it will lie in state tonight, and where the remains may be viewed by friends.
Funeral services will be held Saturday at 2:30 p. m. at the family  home, 514 Themis street. Rev. F.H. Melzer, Lutheran pastor, will  have charge. Interment will be in Lorimier Cemetery.
Regenhardt Funeral Saturday

Is Mourned by Prominent Men

Taft, Davis, Rodeheaver, and Others Send Messages of Condolence

Funeral services for Edw. F. Regenhardt, who died at his home here late Wednesday, will be held Saturday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock at the Brinkopf Funeral home, instead of at the home as previously announced. The change was made necessary when it was seen by the family that the attendance will be too great to be accommodated at the residence. Rev. F. H. Melzer, Lutheran minister, will conduct the rites. Burial will be in the Lorimier Cemetery.

The active pall bearers will be:

Martin Krueger, Charles Reiker, C. P. Cole, George Naeter, Gust Schultz, Henry Brunke, Robert Vogelsang and William Oberheide.

Honorary Pall Bearers.

Honorary pall bearers: Albert Vasterling, E. W. Flentge,Fred Naeter, Charles L. Harrison, M. E. Leming, Judge Oscar A. Knehans, A. C. Vasterling, John P. Meyers, J. H. Himmelberger, J. H. Friant, Chester A. Letts, Fred Steck, A. L. Harty, A. W. Harrison, W. H. Coerver, John Rouse, Will Hirsch, H. H. Haas, W. H. Kiehne, C. A. Vandivort.Sam Boutin, W. S. Albert, Julien Friant, W. H. Vogel, L. W. Bender, Charles Esselman, Fred Brand, W. G. Dock and Frank M. Williams of Cape Girardeau.

Otto Oehler, E. F. Englemann, Judge Charles H. Danes, Capt. W. H. Leyhe, and I. R. Kelso, of St. Louis.

Judge John A. Snider, Fred E. Kies, H. H. Mueller of Jackson.

Frank B. Newton of Sikeston.

Edward E. Whitworth and Frank Williams of Poplar Bluff.

Franklin J. Tacke, of Arnsburg.


Many telegrams of sympathy have come to the Regenhardt family since the news of his passing was flashed over the wires, some of them from famous men who were Mr. Regenhardt's friends.

Among them are the following:
Washington, D. C.,  May 14, 1926.
"Deeply regret to hear of death of Edward F. Regenhardt, my staunch and true friend of many years' standing. I extend to his family my deep sympathy thy in your bereavement,
"Dwight F. Davis"

Washington, D. C.,

May 13, 1926.

"I greatly regret to hear of 'the death of my good friend Edward Regenhardt. Your city has lost a valuable citizen whose going many will mourn.

"William H. Taft."

Staunton, Va.,
May 14, 1926.

"Please extend to the Regenhardt family the most sincere sympathy of our whole party. We are so glad he took the stand he did.

 "Homer Rodeheaver."

A telegram from Homer Rodeheaver expressing the sorrow of the Billy Sunday party was received by the Regenhardt family early today. Mr. Regenhardt attended the Sunday meeting the first day and was there most of the time thereafter until he took sick about a week before the meetings closed. When he failed to appear in the audience for‑a. day or two, members of the Sunday party asked what had happened. When the popular Rodeheaver heard that sickness was keeping him away, he went immediately to the Regenhardt home and was accompanied by Walter Jerkins, who was here for a few days. The two spent an Hour or more with Mr. Regenhardt in a social visit and went away expecting him back in the tabernacle within a few days. 

Finally when it seemed that Regenhardt would be not be able to attend the closing meeting Mr. Sunday asked about him and then he and Mrs. Sunday went to the Regenhardt home for a visit. Mr. Regenhardt told the evangelist that he had expected to reconsecrate himself to the church and wanted to declare him Then and there Mr. Regenhardt made a confession of his faith and Mr. Sunday told him that at the night meeting he world announce that Mr. Regenhardt had "hit the trail" and wanted everybody to know it so his friends who had not already done the same thing would do so. 

Mr. Rodeheaver, it will be recalled by thousands, layed special stress on the fact that Mr. Regenhardt had "seen the light" and at the great men's meeting on Easter Sunday both he and Mr. Sunday spoke of Regenhardt's re‑consecration. 

Mr. Regenhardt frequently met Mr. Sunday and discussed various questions with him. The two men met one day at The Missourian office and "Billy" gave Ed a heavy crack on the chest. `Watch out little fellow or I will throw you out," the big man said to the little one. 

"You remember what little Jack Dempsey did to big Jim Jeffries don't you?" the evangelist retorted. 

Then a general discussion of sporting events followed. 

Mr. Regenhardt visited with all the members of the Sunday party frequently and was a great admirer of them all.

Throng Turns Out for Funeral of Contractor on Saturday. 

Final Tribute to Regenhardt

An impressive tribute to the memory of Edward F. Regenhardt, widely known Southeast Missouri contractor and friend of men of high station in life as well as the most humble of his acquaintances, was paid Saturday when funeral services were held in the presence of hundreds who gathered at the Brinkopf Funeral Home and again at Lorimier cemetery. It was one of the most largely attended funeral services in Cape Girardeau in recent years, the chapel being thronged and a crowd standing outside, unable to gain admission. 

The religious rites were conducted by Rev. F. H. Melzer, pastor of the Lutheran church here, who spoke of the late contractor's busy and conspicuous life and did much to comfort the widow and other members of the family. 

The pall bearers were selected from a group of close friends of the deceased while there was an additional list, including many prominent persons, in the honorary pall bearer roll. 

Dozens from outside Cape Girardeau attended and among those from outside the county who were here to pay a tribute to an old friend were: 

Mr. and Mrs. Otto Oehler, St. Louih; C. F. Rabbeitt of St. Louis; William H. Leyhe of St. Louis; Judge Charles H. Daues of St. Louis; E. E. Whiteworth, F. M. Kinder, L. M. Henson, J. A. Gloriad, F. H. Wilhams, P. T. Sigler, E. C. Mickey and J. L. Henson of Poplar Bluff; Dave King and Frank B. Newton of Sikeston.

A Friend.

Edward F. Regenhardt, "The Big Chief," has passed from our midst. Big in heart, in spirit, in mind, and in soul, as well as in his physical entity, he was known for his friendliness, his honor, his staunchness, his uprightness ‑- generous, broad‑minded, noble, true and kind as he was ‑‑ a friend to the unfortunate, a counselor to the mighty -- Edward F. Regenhardt was perhaps the greatest single citizen and most outstanding character our community has known. He fulfilled St. Paul's ideal of a Christian for he was charitable and it was St. Paul who said, "Tho I have the tongues of men and of angels and have not charity, I am nothing."

Perhaps there was never before in the history of our city been a funeral so largely attended as was that of our friend, Mr. Regenhardt, on last Saturday afternoon. The throngs of people present and the masses and myriads of flowers sent from far and near were silent though weighty and unmistakable attestations of the worth of the man and to the esteem in which he was held by all who knew him‑-by the humblest toiler as well as by the “pillar of society" and the "citizen of renown."

He has left his beloved of earth to enter into the joys of life everlasting ‑- and I can well imagine the gates flung wide and all the hosts of Heaven waiting to receive the great soul that has gone from us. But there will be a reunion ‑‑ and, when we look back upon it the time will not seem long. "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, for the former things are passed away."


The Missourian has lost another of its close friends - the closest personal friend we have had. The death of Edward F. Regenhardt struck home to us.

When the publishers of The Missourian came to Cape Girardeau, total strangers to everybody here, Mr. Regenhardt was one of the first men to come in and offer his help. The last time he visited his office in The Missourian building he dropped in for a visit with us, which meant that he was wondering if he could be of some assistance. A closer, truer friend no man could have.

Mr. Regenhardt's friendship for the publishers of The Missourian was an expression of his love for his town.  No man ever loved his town and his associates more than he did. No other town and no other people could compare in his opinion with Cape Girardeau and the people here, and he never failed to make his feelings known.

It is a great satisfaction to have had the friendship of a private citizen who earned the personal esteem of a president of the United States, and a whose passing was also mourned by a member of the president's cabinet. We doubt if any other private citizen of the state has ever been similarly honored by men of such high position.

It will not be necessary to erect a monument in memory of Edward F. Regenhardt. He built his own shaft. He built his character into everything he did. He built the concrete steps leading to the courthouse many years ago and they stand today as solid as the day they were put down.

He built the great Academic Hall of the State College group, and it is a greater building today than when it was dedicated. He made a heavy sacrifice to build it better than the plans called for, but he wanted it to be safe and to endure.

When Edward F. Regenhardt was laid to rest last Saturday afternoon in Lorimier cemetery we believe Providence had a guiding hand. The great copper dome of Academic Hall stands out on a direct line to the east and for generations it will look down on the resting place of the man who built it to represent his faith in his community.

Edward F. Regenhardt always thought of his friends first. He might have made a greater financial success had he been less thoughtful of others, but as it was, he had the satisfaction of knowing that be had been a friend to many and that at the end he had the great love of a superior family and scores of friends who realized his true worth.