Henry Greve, a member of Governor Hyde’s staff and one of the prominent business men of St. Louis, has made his home in this city since 1875 and through the intervening period his steady progress and advancement along business lines have brought him to a place of prominence and distinction, for he is now sole owner and president of the John Wahl Commission Company and is also a director of the LibertyCentral Trust Company. A native of Germany, he was born in Velen, Westphalia, on the 6th of March, 1856, his parents being Henry and Maria Anna (Brueggemann) Greve, who were also natives of Germany, where the father engaged extensively and successfully in dealing in live stock.
Liberal educational advantages were accorded Henry Greve, who attended the public and high schools of his native country and afterward became a student in the university of Coesfeld in Westphalia. His liberal training constituted the foundation upon which has been built his later success. America, “the land of opportunity,” attracted him in 1873, and bidding adieu to friends and native country, he sailed for the new world, first taking up his abode in Dyersville, Iowa, where he initiated his business career by accepting a clerkship in a general store. He afterward removed to Quincy, Illinois, where he was again connected with mercantile interests and later resided for a time in Helena, Montana, and in San Francisco, California.
The year 1875 witnessed the arrival of Mr. Greve in St. Louis, where he has since made his home, and as the years have passed he has gained a place among the prominent, forceful and resourceful business men of the city. He here engaged in the dry goods business for a period of five years, representing New York manufacturers and jobbers, and in 1881 became connected with the John Wahl Commission Company, grain commission merchants, now specializing in pig lead and zinc, their trade in lead and zinc scarcely being surpassed by any enterprise of the kind in the united States. In 1890 Mr. Greve became the vice president and general manager of the company, while today he is sole owner of the business and chief executive officer, having since 1910 been the president. The thoroughness with which he studied and mastered the business, leading to the development of ability, now enables him most wisely to control the affairs of the corporation, the metal sales of which aggregate twenty-five million dollars. In directing its policy and promoting its trade Mr. Greve has displayed marked administrative ability and executive control and he is recognized as a dynamic force in the commercial world. His sound judgment guides him in everything he undertakes and his enterprise surmounts all difficulties and obstacles that arise in connection with the business.
On the 29th of December, 1881, Mr. Greve was married to Miss Josephine Wahl, of St. Louis, daughter of John Wahl, who was the president of the John Wahl Commission Company and who was one of the organizers and early presidents of the German Savings Institution, now the Liberty-Central Trust Company. Mrs. Greve passed away October 3, 1919, mourned by all who knew her. Her death was indeed the occasion of deep and widespread regret to many friends as well as to her immediate family. Mr. and Mrs. Greve had traveled life’s journey together for thirty seven years and theirs was largely an ideal companionship, so that the death of his wife has been an almost unbearable blow to Mr. Greve. She was a woman of most charitable disposition and was continually extending a helping hand to those who needed assistance, yet her kindness and benevolence were of the most unostentatious character. Her tact enabled her to know just how to approach each individual and thus the recipients of her bounty never lost their self-respect through accepting her generosity. To Mr. and Mrs. Greve were born five children: Edwin Joseph, who is now treasurer of the John Wahl Commission Company, married Cecil Francis Brown, a daughter of George W. and Anna Brown of Cherokee, Kansas, and they have one daughter, Gloria Joan, born January 13, 1920; Robert Francis, secretary of the John Wahl Commission Company, married Bertha K. Trorlicht, daughter of Henry A. and Alice Trorlicht, of St. Louis. Elizabeth, the only daughter, usually known to her friends as Bessie, makes her home with her father. She greatly enjoys travel and has been abroad on several occasions, visiting various points of the world. John Henry, the oldest son, died at the age of five years, and Henry Wahl Greve, the youngest son, died at the age of three years.
Mr. Greve is a man of splendid physique and of striking appearance and personality. He is a great lover of all outdoor sports and keeps in splendid condition at all times through his outdoor exercise. He has long displayed great fondness for fine horses and owns what is conceded to be the finest saddle horse in the state of Missouri, called Forest Park. Mr. Greve can be seen almost daily riding him through the park of the same name. He also greatly enjoys aquatic sports and is a good swimmer. He is very popular in club circles, holding membership in the St. Louis Club, the Missouri Athletic Association and the Sunset Hill Country ‘Club. He is likewise a member of the St. Louis Merchants Exchange and in New York has a membership in the Siwanoy Country Club.
Mr. Greve belongs to the Catholic Church and is noted in Catholic circles for his philanthropy and generous support to many benevolent projects. He presented to the St. Louis Cathedral the archbishop’s throne at the altar and gave the organ to the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes. While he belongs to the Catholic church, his good deeds are not confined alone thereto, for he supports many worthy causes. He is a member of Governor Hyde’s staff, which bespeaks the esteem in which he is held by the new republican governor of Missouri. He is a world-wide traveler and is especially familiar with the points of modern and historic interest and of scenic beauty in Europe. His social spirit makes him a most congenial companion, and he is a broad-minded man with whom association means expansion and elevation, while his business record is of inspirational value to the world.