Protégé to world-famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, William “Billy” Bernoudy was born in St. Louis on 4 December 1910, the second son of Jerome Bauduy Bernoudy and his wife, Elizabeth M. Jerome.

About 1917, the Bernoudy family moved to 7033 Lindell, where Billy lived until he was forty years old. After graduating from University City High School in 1929, Billy entered the School of Architecture at Washington University, but he did not last there for long. He was never a good student and he left Washington University after just two semesters. In 1932, he applied to the Frank Lloyd Wright School, a new apprenticeship program at Taliesin in Wisconsin. He was a member of its first class, remaining there until 1935.

In 1938, Billy paired up with his friend and fellow architect Edouard J. Mutrux to form a partnership (one that lasted thirty years) to design a home that came to be called the Talbot House in Ladue. It was the first in a series of unusual new houses in the area, inspired by the work of Wright.

William Bernoudy served in World War II as an architectural liaison officer for the Navy with the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. After the war, he and Ed Mutrux opened an office in Clayton, calling themselves Mutrux and Bernoudy. In 1946, Billy received his architect’s license and began to design and build a series of buildings that made him noted as an internationally famous architect and landscape designer. Bernoudy’s houses featured natural materials in harmony with the land around them.

After Jerome Bernoudy’s death in 1948, Elizabeth Bernoudy sold their University City home. Billy designed a home for himself on the south side of Litzsinger Road in Ladue and he and his mother lived in it until his marriage in 1955 to noted art collector, Gertrude Turnovska Shenker/Lenart. At that time, Elizabeth moved to an apartment at 7747 Kingsbury and then to the Gatesworth Manor in the City of St. Louis, where she was living at the time of her death in 1963.

William Bernoudy designed dozens of homes throughout the U.S. and in the Caribbean. He had a hand in designing the First Methodist Church in East Alton, Illinois, 1958; Temple Emanuel in Creve Coeur, 1960; the Williams Villa on the St. Louis Country Club grounds; the Kiener Memorial Entrance and the serpentine wall at the St. Louis Zoo, 1966; the restoration of Powell Symphony Hall; and the Schneithorst house in Ladue, 1984. He also was instrumental in saving the Wainwright Building in downtown St. Louis.

William Bernoudy
William Bernoudy, 1929
Photo in the collection of the Historical Society of University City; used with permission

In 1982, Bernoudy was made a fellow of the American Institute of Architects. He died on 2 August 1988. Gertrude Bernoudy passed away on 3 April 1994. Between them, they left an enduring legacy of art, scholarships, and beauty in the St. Louis area./p

(Sources include U.S. federal census records, printed biographies and newspaper articles, obituaries, and death records)

Written by Ilene Kanfer Murray
February 2017 (excerpted from a longer essay originally written in 2009)
© 2017, St. Louis Genealogical Society

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Last Modified: 26-Oct-2018 19:44