William C. Uhri, a St. Louis capitalist and banker, who is now vice president of the Liberty Bank yet is practically living retired except for the supervision which he gives to his own investments and financial affairs, was born in this city on the 15th of June, 1854. The story of his life is the story of earnest purpose and endeavor, resulting in the successful accomplishment of his purpose, not alone in the attainment of success but also in the attainment of health, the lack of which was to him for a number of years a serious handicap. Mr. Uhri is a son of Andrew Uhri, who was born in Baden, Germany, but came to the United States in 1847 and established his home in St. Louis, where for many years he was a building contractor, being thus engaged to the time of his death, which resulted from a street car accident. In early manhood he had wedded Fredericka Long, a native of Germany, who came to the new world in her girlhood days and met her future husband when they were crossing the Atlantic in one of the old-time sailing vessels, which was fourteen weeks in reaching the port of debarkation. Mrs. Uhri passed away in 1892, leaving a family of three sons who had reached manhood. Five of her eight children had died In infancy.
William C. Uhri, who was the second in order of birth, pursued his education in the public schools of St. Louis to the age of sixteen years, when he left home and went to the west, working his passage on steamboats. In 1870 he secured employment with the firm of Green & Long, wholesale grocers of Kansas City, and after an absence of four years from St. Louis he returned home in answer to a letter from his mother, who desired him to take charge of the contracting and building business which had been established by his father, whose illness left the business without a head. Mr. Uhri then again became a resident of St. Louis and at once undertook the management of the business, which he successfully controlled. He has ever been a persistent and energetic worker and the thoroughness which has characterized his entire career was manifest in the course that he now followed, for not only did he acquaint himself with all the practical phases of the building and contracting business but also took up the study of architecture and in the course of time became a prominent representative of the profession. As the years passed his operations in the building circles of St. Louis were very extensive and of an important character and success in large measure crowned his labors. Extending his efforts into financial fields, he 1s now the vice president of the Liberty Bank of St. Louis, but is practically living retired although looking after his financial affairs.
In 1889 Mr. Uhri was united in marriage to Miss Emily Rose, daughter of Dr. Edward Rose, of St. Louis. They have five children: Edward W., is in the oil business at Forth Worth, Texas, where he has operated very successfully and is recognized as a most alert and resourceful business man; William Clarence, the next of the family, is a resident of St. Louis; Ids Rose is a graduate of Mary Institute and of Miss Mason’s School at Tarrytown, New York; Eugenia M., who was educated in the same schools as her sister Ids, gave her hand in marriage to Marc Gautier of St. Louis on the 15th of June, 1920; Henry Andrew is a student in the University of Illinois.
Mr. Uhri was at one time a member of all the leading clubs of St. Louis but has resigned from all save the Sunset and Riverview Clubs. He has always been keenly interested in art and architecture and has studied broadly along those lines and has manifested a lively and discriminating interest in things of this character. Fraternally Mr. Uhri has long been a leading representative of the Masonic order in St. Louis, having membership in Tuscan Lodge, No. 360, A. F. & A. M., also in the Royal Arch Chapter and in Ascalon Commandery, K. T. He is likewise a member of Moolah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S. He was the builder of the Tuscan Temple on King’s Highway, the most classic Greek temple in the United States. In 1910 Mr. Uhri suffered a paralytic stroke and at. the same time had contusion of the brain. He went to Heidelberg. Germany, where he had many operations performed. He has overcome his physical difficulties through sheer force of character and will power, and today he has the appearance of a man of forty years and weighs more than he ever did in his life before. This result has been accomplished by undergoing one operation after another and through his undaunted courage and determination. ‘today he is numbered among the most useful and valued citizens of St. Louis, is always cheery, hopeful and helpful and is one of those men who shed around them much of the sunshine of life.