Czesław “Chess” Wieczorek (1929 – 2007) was a Polish-American bridge engineer.
Chess came to St Louis in 1969. He left Poland for Italy during the 1968 anti-semitic campaign orchestrated by the Polish communist government. The campaign led to the expulsion of nearly 20,000 citizens of Poland who were of Jewish ethnicity. He himself was not Jewish. Before his departure, he was the CEO of the largest construction company in Poland. One day, he received an order from the government to lay off all employees who were of Jewish origin. His response to the government’s demand was “Our employees are not judged by their ethnicity but by their professional and technical skills”. Soon after he was forced to resign his position, Czeslaw and his wife Celina, and left Poland for Italy where they spend nearly a year awaiting emigration to the US.
His engineering talent was immediately noticed, and he was soon hired by Sverdrup Corporation where for the next 20 years designed many extraordinary bridges and structures across the U.S.
Locally, Mr. Wieczorek designed the second I-64 bridge over the Missouri River, I-70 over the Missouri River, and made a significant contribution to two beautiful arch bridges carrying I-364 (Page Avenue extension) over the Missouri River. The East Bound structure of Blanchette Memorial Bridge opened in 1978 as well as the Westbound span of Daniel Boone Bridge which was opened in 1989.