Richard L. Berkley

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Richard L Berkley
Richard L. Berkley 2011.jpg
50th Mayor of Kansas City
In office
May 1979 – May 1991
Preceded byCharles Wheeler
Succeeded byEmanuel Cleaver
Personal details
Richard L. Berkowitz

(1931-06-29) June 29, 1931 (age 90)
Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Sandy Berkley
ChildrenJon Berkley, Elizabeth Berkley
ResidenceKansas City, Missouri
Alma materMBA from Harvard University

Richard L. Berkley (born Richard L. Berkowitz; June 29, 1931) served as the 50th mayor of Kansas City, Missouri from 1979 to 1991.

Berkley received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and an Master's degree in Business Administration from Harvard Business School in 1957. His family owned the Kansas City‐based Tension Envelope Corporation, and Berkley served as treasurer in addition to serving on the company's board of directors.

Although Kansas City mayors do not officially have political affiliations, Mayor Berkley was the first Republican mayor of the city since the 1920s, and its most recent one as of 2021. He was also the city's first Jewish mayor[1] and served longer than any other mayor in Kansas City history. Prior to taking office as mayor, he served on the city council from 1969 to 1979, and was mayor pro tem from 1971 to 1979.

During his term as mayor he led the calls for a federal investigation into the Hyatt Regency walkway collapse in 1981. More than 700 capital improvement projects occurred during his term, including a major expansion of Bartle Hall Convention Center and revitalization of the Quality Hill neighborhood.

The Richard L. Berkley Riverfront Park on Front Street along the Missouri River near the Christopher "Kit" Bond Bridge(I-35) is named for him. His granddaughter is Sports Illustrated swimsuit model McKenna Berkley, who made her debut posing nude in body paint in the 2017 issue.


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Political offices
Preceded by
Mayors of Kansas City, Missouri
Succeeded by