Taking a dive

I learned about this while in St. Louis, from the Times.

Isadore Millstone built old Busch Stadium and outlived it, and two wives, and his only two children. He was 102 when he pitched himself from the Daniel Boone Bridge into the Missouri River last month.

Such an inglorious exit, for such a generous man. More than changing the architectural face of the city, he was remembered for his civil rights advocacy and for countless private acts of kindness. The only time he ever got angry, said his Rabbi, “was when people with wealth wouldn’t use it to help others.”

His suicide, “committed in daylight from a well-traveled bridge- has provoked reflection” on end-of-life issues, and it should. A devoted swimmer, he tired of life and took a final plunge. “He wanted to remain in charge of his own destiny.” His last decision, rational or not, should not mar a marvelous legacy of service to community and humanity.  As he said of his own architectural creations, the time inevitably arrives when their purpose has been served and they need to fall, as old Busch Stadium did in 2005. And for people too, there comes a time. Sadly, we as a culture still don’t do a very good job of anticipating that time and preparing as gentle an exit for people as for buildings.


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