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In Loving Memory

Duesenberg, Richard William

December 10, 1930 - August 19, 2023

on August 19th, 2023.

Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Hugo (John August Hugo) Duesenberg and Edna (Warmann) Duesenberg.  Beloved husband for 63 years of Phyllis Evelyn (Buehner) Duesenberg (d. 2019); dear father of Karen, Daryl, Mark, and David Duesenberg; loving grandfather of Michael, Jennifer, Elizabeth, Andrew, McKinzie, Abigail, and Anna.  Dear brother, brother-in-law, father-in-law, uncle, mentor, and friend to many.

Mr. Duesenberg was a prominent lawyer.  He earned his undergraduate and law degrees from Valparaiso University and a master of laws degree from Yale Law School.  He started his career as a professor of law at New York University in 1956.  He joined the law department of the Monsanto Company in 1962 and, from 1977 to 1995, served as the Company’s Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary.  Mr. Duesenberg authored one treatise and co-authored two treatises on contracts and the Uniform Commercial Code.  He edited and contributed chapters for several law related books and wrote many editorials and articles concerning law, Christianity, and individual liberty.  He taught courses in law at the University of Missouri, Louisiana State University, Cambridge University, and St. Louis University.  He served as Chairman of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association, Chairman of the American Society of Corporate Secretaries, Vice President of the Association of General Counsels, and on the boards of directors of the National Judicial College and the American Arbitration Association.  He was a Life Member of the American Law Institute and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

Active in the church, a man of scholarly tastes, and raised in a family allied with the finest artistic qualities, especially in music, Mr. Duesenberg gave generously of himself to the Lutheran Church and organizations promoting the arts and individual liberty.  He was President of the Bach Society of St. Louis and a member of the boards of directors of Valparaiso University, Lutheran Brotherhood (now Thrivent), Lutheran Medical Center (St. Louis), Lutheran Charities Association (St. Louis), the St. Louis Symphony, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Liberty Fund, and the Mont Pelerin Society.  Together with his wife, he promoted the pursuit of knowledge and truth and exposure to the immense cultural heritage of the Lutheran movement in Christianity, including at Valparaiso University by endowing chairs in Christian Ethics, Christianity and the Arts, Lutheran Music, Law, and French Language and Culture, establishing the Bach Institute, and spearheading the creation of the Kade-Duesenberg German House and Cultural Center.  He and Mrs. Duesenberg also promoted the music, culture, history, and mission work of the Lutheran Church by co-founding the Bach at the Sem vespers series and establishing the Buehner-Duesenberg Endowed Chair in Lutheran Missions at Concordia Seminary. Mr. Duesenberg was a veteran of the U.S. Army.

Memorial donations to Valparaiso University  and Lutheran Summer Music Academy are gratefully received.  A service celebrating the life of Mr. Duesenberg will be at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Des Peres, Missouri, on November 4, at 1:00pm.


6 thoughts on “Duesenberg, Richard William”

  1. Dear Duesenberg family,
    My heartfelt condolences at the passing of a great man, Richard Duesenberg. I am Pauline Erickson, the wife of Stephen Erickson, professor of philosophy at Pomona College, who was Dick’s favorite Liberty Fund discussion leader at the amazing Bach conferences, in Valparaiso, New York, Houston, and of course in Leipzig. I attended them all and would sit with Dick and Phyllis at a small table in the conference room to listen to the conversations and then to attend the beautiful concerts. Sadly enough, my own husband, Stephen Erickson, passed one week ago today of Parkinsons disease.
    I extend my deepest condolences to the Duesenberg family.
    Many beautiful memories remain.

  2. I just today read of Dick’s death. My primary contact with Dick was when he was in a leadership position with the American Bar’s Business Law Section. His leadership as Chair inspired me and he encouraged my involvement. Our thoughts and prayers are with Phyllis and his family.
    Maury Poscover

  3. My condolences to his family He was in the Monsanto Law Department when I joined it in 1965. I had the privilege of filling in for his secretary, Kay Brady, when she was on vacation through the years until his retirement. He was a remarkable person for whom I had a lot of respect.
    Janet Striker

  4. Dear Duesenberg family,

    Please accept my sincere condolences, along with my husband, Michael’s. While I did not know Mr. Duesenberg, personally, I was a recipient of his benevolence and generosity. As a member of the American Kantorei, and having performed at the Bach at the Sem series, I’m well aware of the love that the Duesenbergs had for classical music, and especially the music of Christian and Lutheran composer, Johann Sebastian Bach. They understood only too well the important role that Bach played in the church and in all Christendom, at large, since, throughout the centuries. As a singer, I was especially blessed (and am) to be a part of this wonderful performance group and to understand the importance of our role in blessing our audiences, especially in such distressing times, with the beauty, hope, and glory of God as expressed in all the Bach masterworks. Without the Duesenbergs, their vision, and their unparalleled generosity, the Kantorei would never have existed. I pray for the comfort of the entire family and that Mr. Duesenberg shall rest in peace and be raised with all Christians on that glorious day of resurrection.

    Lynn Morrissey

  5. My condolences to the family. Phyllis and Dick were very kind to Diane as we moved to join the law team at Monsanto. Dick was a towering intellect and leader. He was so nice to call upon the announcement that I had become general counsel. Now he is with God who is good all the time.


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