James F. Conway

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James F. Conway (born June 27, 1932 in St. Louis, Missouri) was the 41st mayor of St. Louis, serving from 1977 to 1981.

Conway attended Saint Louis University and received a B.S. in geophysical engineering, and an MBA in Business Administration. His business career included serving as sales engineer and production manager for the Nooter Corporation, and later as president of A.C.I Plastics Company.

Conway was elected state representative in 1966, and was elected to the Missouri State Senate in 1974. In the March, 1977 Democratic primary for mayor, Conway defeated former mayor A.J. Cervantes and went on to win the April general election by a large margin.

Like many mayors of St. Louis, Conway found it difficult to accomplish some of his goals within the city's system of divided government. He and comptroller Raymond Percich differed on interpretations of the City Charter, and their battles became quite heated with numerous lawsuits and threats of lawsuits.

Mayor Conway succeeded in getting voters to lift the $25,000 salary limit that had been contained in the city charter. Some saw the salary cap as a hindrance in recruiting and retaining highly qualified civil servants. The duplication of services at the two public hospitals in St. Louis (City Hospital and Homer G. Phillips Hospital) also concerned Mayor Conway. His move to consolidate most hospital services at City Hospital in 1979 was extremely unpopular with residents in North St. Louis, where Homer G. Phillips Hospital was located.

In 1981, Conway was defeated in his bid for re-election in the Democratic primary by Vincent C. Schoemehl. After leaving office, Conway returned to his business, ACI Plastics, and remained active in civic affairs. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, he and former mayors Vincent C. Schoemehl, Jr. and Freeman Bosley, Jr. worked with a group called Citizens for Home Rule, which worked on various proposals to amend the city's charter.

Conway is married to the former Joan C. Newman and they have five grown children. Their son Steven was elected to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen in 1991.

References[edit]

Much of the original content for this article was based on the brief biographies of St. Louis Mayors found at the St. Louis Public Library's website, http://exhibits.slpl.lib.mo.us/mayors/mayors4.asp

  • "New St. Louis Mayor". Mount Vernon Register-News. April 20, 1977. p. 1. 
  • "Election Set". Jefferson City Post-Tribune. April 20, 1977. p. 2. 
  • "New Mayor in St. Louis". Burlington Hawk-Eye. April 22, 1981. p. 2. 
Preceded by
John Poelker
Mayor of St. Louis
1977 – 1981
Succeeded by
Vincent C. Schoemehl