+ Frank John Lausche 1895 – 1990

Born: 14 Nov 1895 in Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Parents: Louis Lausche and Frances Milavec

Married:  Jane Oram Sheal 1903-1981 in 19 Nov 1929 in Franklin, Ohio, USA

Lived in: Cleveland, Ohio and Bethesda, Maryland, near Washington DC, USA

Died: 21 April 1990 in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.  Buried next to his wife Jane in Calvary Cemetery, Cleveland.


Entry in The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History : 

LAUSCHE, FRANK JOHN (14 Nov. 1895-21 Apr. 1990), a politician known for his independence and integrity, Frank was born in Cleveland the son of Slovenian immigrants Louis and Frances (Milavec) Lausche. He attended the Central Institute Preparatory School 1915-16, completing his high school education by correspondence. Lausche graduated from John Marshall Law School, passing the bar in 1925, and worked at the firm of Locher, Green, and Woods where Cyrus Locher encouraged him to go into politics. Lausche was appointed and then elected judge in Cleveland Municipal Court 1932-1935 and served in Common Pleas court 1936-41 where he helped close down the Harvard and Thomas gambling houses in Newburgh Heights. As a Democrat, Lausche was elected Mayor of Cleveland in 1941, the first mayor of Eastern European descent During his mayoralty, negotiations for the city to take over the Cleveland Railway system were finalized, and in 1942 the Cleveland Transit System was organized. Concerned about postwar development, Lausche organized the Post War Planning Council in 1944 to coordinate future planning in the areas of labor, health, transportation, and racial toleration. Noted for a clean and frugal government, he served 2 terms as mayor and then was elected Governor of Ohio 1945-46 and again 1948-56. Lausche was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1956, defeating George Bender and served there until he lost to John Gilligan in the 1968 Democratic primary. He remained in the Washington D.C. area practicing law. While nominally a Democrat, Lausche operated outside the party throughout his career, often refusing to campaign for other Democratic party candidates.

Lausche married Jane O. Sheal of Cleveland in May 1928; they had no children. After her death in 1981, he remained in Washington until 1990 when he returned to Cleveland and moved into the Slovene Home for the Aged.

His biography as given in Wikipedia:

Frank John Lausche (November 14, 1895 – April 21, 1990) was a Democratic politician from Ohio. He served as the 47th mayor of ClevelandOhio, as the 55th and 57th Governor of Ohio, and as a United States Senator from Ohio for two terms (1957–1969).

His family originates from Slovenia. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War I, he returned to law school, graduating from the John Marshall School of Law in 1920. Lausche served as Municipal Court judge from 1932 to 1937 and Common Pleas Court judge from 1937 to 1941, before winning election as Mayor of Cleveland in 1941. He served until 1944, when he first won election as Governor of Ohio, becoming the state’s first Catholic governor. Lausche served as governor from 1945 to 1947, when he narrowly lost to Thomas J. Herbert. Lausche defeated Herbert in a 1948 rematch, however, serving from 1949 to 1957. He was reelected as Governor in 1952, defeating Cincinnati Mayor Charles Phelps Taft II, and 1954, defeating state Auditor Jim Rhodes, who later became Governor himself. Lausche resigned in early 1957, having won election to the United States Senate in 1956, unseating incumbent Republican George Bender.

In his first term, with the Senate almost evenly split, Lausche gave Senate Democratic leader Lyndon B. Johnsona scare by hinting that he might vote for Republican William F. Knowland for Senate Majority Leader, although he ultimately did not. Throughout his career, Lausche displayed a bipartisan and independent approach to politics, being known by some as a “Democrat with a small ‘d’”, but his approach to ethnic Democratic politics paved the way for followers such as Ralph S. Locher, who became Mayor of Cleveland and later an Associate Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, and Bronis Klementowicz, a leader of Cleveland City Council and law director under Locher. Lausche’s independence also earned him, among some, the derisive moniker, “Frank the Fence.” Some nicknames attributed to him were derisive and even scatological. Among them included “Frank J. Lousy” and “Frank J. Laushit.” Lausche was easily re-elected to the Senate in 1962, but was defeated in his bid for renomination in 1968, due to his loss of labor union support. He lost Democratic primary by John J. Gilligan by a 55% to 45% margin, and in the general election, Lausche refused to support Gilligan, who went on to lose the general election to then-state Attorney General William B. Saxbe.

Lausche was a very popular, plain-spoken, big-city politician of the old school. He was credited with building a coalition of ethnic voters in Cleveland known as the “cosmopolitan Democrats.” There is some evidence that Republican presidential candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952, considered asking Lausche to become his running mate.

The State of Ohio’s office building in Cleveland, Ohio is named after Lausche. In 2005, James E. Odenkirk authored the book, Frank J. Lausche: Ohio’s Great Political Maverick, an in-depth look at Lausche’s political career. In the early 1990s, Ohio’s Lincoln was published.

Interesting excerpt from review of Frank J. Lausche: Ohio’s Great Political Maverick:

I enjoyed learning of Frank and Jane Lausche’s marriage. Frank was Catholic and Jane Protestant; yet, at a time when mixed marriages were unusual, they attended their own churches without fanfare. To save money and improve their diet, Jane raised vegetables and chickens on the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion when Frank was governor. They subsisted on a modest $13,000 gubernatorial salary, though Jane finally had to browbeat her parsimonious husband in providing a larger clothing allowance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *