Robert L. Berra

June 24, 1924May 9, 2013

BERRA, ROBERT L., Fortified with the Sacraments of Holy Mother Church on Thursday, May 9, 2013 in St. Petersburg, Fl.

Beloved husband of Vivian Berra(nee Miles); dearest father of Kathy (Duane) Schrage and Patti (Ed) Babcock; loving grandfather of Sarah (Jeremy) Boyce; dear great grandfather of A.J. Boyce; dear son of the late Angelo and Clara (Stohl) Berra; dear stepson of Elsie (Petcher) Berra.

Bob was a native of St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from St. Louis University with a B.S. in Commerce and Finance and earned his MBA from the Harvard Business School in 1947. His career began as a lecturer at St Louis University while doing graduate work in Economics. In order to get practical experience he accepted an offer from Monsanto as assistant training manager in a large plant. In the next 20 years he worked in almost every aspect of the personnel function and reached the level of assistant director of corporate personnel. During this time he also studied Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis.

In 1970 he accepted an offer from Foremost-McKesson(now McKesson) to become vice president of corporate personnel and public relations. In 1974 he returned to Monsanto as vice-president of personnel. He remained at Monsanto until he retired in 1989 as senior vice-president of administration and advisory member of the board of directors.

Along the way, Berra served as president of Industrial Relations Club of St. Louis and Chairman of the Society of Human Resource Management(SHRM). He received the Alumni Merit Award from St. Louis University in 1977 and the Professional of the Year award from SHRM in 1982. He was elected a fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources in the inaugural group in 1992.

Berra was an emeritus member of the board of trustees of Maryville University, a past member of the finance committee of the Mercy Health System and served on many boards of directors, including Fisher Controls, Venture Stores, NutraSweet, the Searle Pharmaceutical Company and the internal Boards of Monsanto’s chemical and agricultural products company.

He lectured at leading universities including Harvard, Michigan, Nebraska, Missouri, Boston and Illinois. He consulted with numerous companies, including Edward Jones and Hill and Knowlton. He authored many articles in the field of human resource management and keynoted conventions throughout America for more than 35 years.

He was co-developer of the MBA program at American International University, Springfield, Massachusetts and was chairman of the visiting committee on personnel at Harvard University, 1979-1981. He served on the adjunct faculty of the University of Illinois’ Institute of labor and Industrial Relations. He was a member of the Senior Adjunct Faculty at Olin School of Business, Washington University, St. Louis, where he taught in the school’s executive MBA program for over 20 years until his retirement in 2004. He was the recipient of the Reid Teacher of the Year award in 1994.

He was a veteran of WWII having enlisted in the Navy as an Ordinary Seaman in 1942 and was honorably discharged as Lieutenant(Junior Grade) in 1946.

Services: Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10:00 AM, Saturday, May 18 at St. Anselm Church, 530 S. Mason Rd., Creve Coeur. Interment Resurrection Cemetery.

Visitation Friday, May 17, from 5 to 8 PM at Kriegshauser West, 9450 Olive Blvd., Olivette.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to the American Cancer Society appreciated.


  • Visitation Friday, May 17, 2013
  • Mass of Christian Burial Saturday, May 18, 2013

Robert L. Berra

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Ann Findlay

June 15, 2013

My condolences to Vivian and the girls. I remember Bob from his exile to Springfield, MA when my husband, Frank Findlay and I used to party with Bob at the "Terrace Club" in Longmeadow, MA. Had no idea until now that he was actually a little older than my husband. Bob was always young at heart. Sorry to hear this news. AnnFindlay Tallgrass Creek

Janet Worstell

May 22, 2013

My best friend for 45 years. Many, many memories. I will miss him forever.

May 21, 2013

Bob Berra was the kind of guy who always had a knack to bring life to a party. And yet, with his business associates he was a strong and capable leader. Bob and my husband, the former William Ast, became good friends as they experienced many Monsanto undertakings and trips together. Bob was highly respected wherever he would go.
My personal memories with Bob and Vivian go back to the days that the four of us spent together at International Personnel Conventions. No matter how busy the day had been, Bob always found a room with a piano. He would start playing and singing and I would join with him by singing along. In a short while we would always end up with a large gathering of conventioneers joining with us and we would sing into the wee hours of the mornings. Bob was just that kind of person. He brought Joy into the lives he touched. I feel that he and Bill are,"UP THERE," together ,...and probably, "Dealing Out the Cards."
I shall miss them greatly. Marilyn K. Ast

Pamm Sanders

May 17, 2013

Uncle Bob was a special person who was a recognized leader in business but he was also recognized to be an all around great guy by his family. No matter how much time passed by when you spoke with him it was like you just spoke with him yesterday. I have only the absolute fondest memories of growing up with the Berra family. It is a sad day and he will be missed. I send my sincere condolences to Aunt Viv, Kathy and Patty and their families. Much Love, Pammy & Bill Sanders

Hubert Harnett

May 17, 2013

To the Berra family
I will sadly miss a great golfing buddy and friend. Condolences to all family members and especially Vivian
Hubert Harnett

Michael Losey

May 16, 2013

I remember so well how he would teach the principles of leadership by utilizing the movie12 O'clock High.

Mike Losey

Frank and Mary Reining

May 14, 2013

Another honorable member of the "greatest generation" has passed. One of the finest leaders of Monsanto whom I had the great good fortune and pleasure to know, work with, and to be tutored by! I can only recall a very few corporate personalities with the range of intellectual capability and personal sensitivity that Bob always displayed. He will be missed by all who knew him. Our prayers are for Bob and his family.

Vince Correnti

May 14, 2013

I was introduced to Bob 18 years ago on the golf course and was a dedicated member of his foursome in St Louis every summer.

Each spring we always looked forward to his spring training report on the Cardinals.

He will be sorely missed as a great friend.

My prayers to your family.

Karen Kaller

May 14, 2013

Bob and my dad, Adrian Hamilton, grew up together on Chester Avenue in St. Louis, and had known each other since they were 3 years old. They kept in touch all throughout their adulthood. When we lived in California (La Selva Beach) Bob and Viv would come out to visit my mom and dad and I have fond memories of all of them listening to and singing Frank Sinatra songs. I have not seen Bob or Viv in years, but they kept in touch with my mom after my dad passed away in 2001. I know Bob will truly be missed by all who knew him. My thoughts and prayers are with the family at this sad time.

Richard Long

May 13, 2013

I met Bob 35 years ago at a Cardinals spring training game at Al Lang Field
in St. Petersburg. He's been a friend ever since. Bob once told me his dad
took him to ball games as a kid, until he aged then Bob took him to games.
Somewhere in heaven there's a baseball game going on and Bob and his
dad are once again watching a game together. A better man I never met.
My prayers and thoughts are with Viv and family.
Richard Long, Easton Pa.