Mae Meissner Whitaker was born in Bunker Hill, Illinois, in 1883.
As a young woman, she married Lyndon C. Whitaker, a successful
advertising executive. After living in California for several
years, the Whitakers returned to St. Louis in 1942 following Mr.
Whitaker's retirement. Six years later, the widowed Mrs. Whitaker
moved to the Central West End, where she lived with her sister.
Mrs. Whitaker was an avid art collector
and an ardent supporter of her beloved community. The principal
source of her personal wealth was the St. Louis-based McKinney
Bakery Company, located at Ninth and Mound streets, owned by her
brother George Meissner and brother-in-law John McKinney. The
company was later purchased by General Baking Company.
Mae M. Whitaker created the Foundation upon her death in 1975
at the age of 92 as a memorial to her husband and as a means of
support for our community.