Former U.S. senator George Voinovich, also a former
two-term Ohio governor who was Cleveland mayor from
1980-1989 when George Forbes was city council president
CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM-CLEVELAND, Ohio-The funeral of former Cleveland mayor George Voinovich, also a former two-term governor of Ohio and former member of the U.S. Senate, is set for Friday, June 17, a private ceremony for family and friends.
It will begin at 10 a.m at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Euclid, OH, with a private burial at All Souls cemetery in Chardon.
Mourners, however, are invited to line the streets as the funeral procession, set tentatively to leave the church at 11:45 p.m., makes its way to the cemetery.
For a map of the funeral procession route click here.
Voinovich, 79, died Sunday in his sleep at his home in the Collinwood neighborhood on Cleveland's east side.
Calling hours were Wednesday in Willoughby Hills where hundreds attended.
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, the city's three-term Black mayor, and a Democrat, said in a press release that Voinovich was "a uniquely talented leader who served our state and the city of Cleveland unselfishly."
The Cleveland-born politician who had friends and supporters across racial and ethic lines and was a Republican mayor of Cleveland when all of city council was Democratic, lied in state at the Rotunda at City Hall on June 16 for a a public viewing with a program that followed. (Editor's note: The offices of mayor and city council in Cleveland are non-partisan with the mayor-ship and all 17 council seats up for grabs in an election next year).
Voinovich was Cleveland's mayor from 1980-1989 during the height of the Cleveland schools desegregation era, and when George L. Forbes, also a former longtime president of the NAACP, wielded power as president of city council.
A Black Democrat, Forbes helped Voinovich, who was White, win his first term as mayor by ousting then Democratic mayor Dennis Kucinich, who was later elected to congress and lost his congressional seat to longtime Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur in 2012 via a state legislative redistricting map that pitted the two Democrats against each other.
Also among the Cleveland power brokers of Democrats that courted Voinovich were the late congressman Louis Stokes and his late brother, Carl Stokes, the first Black mayor of Cleveland and of a major American city.
Arnold Pinkney, also dead and a political strategist that ran Democratic campaigns for influential politicians, including the Rev Jesse Jackson Sr's first of two unsuccessful bids for president, was a member of the Old Black Political Guard like Forbes and the Stokes' brothers, among others.
But Pinkney rarely strayed and was a loyal Democrat.
Forbes, 85, and still alive and well, was a masterful politician, said sources, and, like Voinovich, could skillfully manipulate both Democrats and Republicans.
In spite of his popularly, and his heavy-handedness with White folks, Forbes could not succeed Voinovich as mayor, losing a non-partisan runoff in 1989 against Michael R. White, a three-term Black Democratic mayor whom he clashed with in his subsequent role as the Cleveland NAACP president, a position he held for some two decades. (Editor's note: White served three terms as mayor and was succeeded by Jane Campbell, the city's first female mayor, and of whom current Mayor Frank Jackson, then the city council president, ousted in 2005)
Forbes told the Cleveland-based Call and Post Newspaper, where he is general counsel, that Voinovich was his political teammate for progressive change in the largely Black major American city
"George Voinovich and I were great friends and we accomplished a lot during the time we were both in office for the city of Cleveland," said Forbes for a Call and Post cover story published Wednesday.
Call and Post owner and publisher Don King, a Republican and well-known international boxing promoter who promoted mega- fights for the late, great Muhammad Ali and a host of other boxers across the world, also praised Voinovich.
"No matter whether George was a county auditor, Lt governor, governor or senator for the great state of Ohio, he never lost his personal touch or his humanism that he displayed for his fellow man," said King in this week's edition of the Call and Post, a Black weekly.
Other Ohio dignitaries expressing condolences include Gov. John Kasich, state Rep. Bill Patmon of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish, and Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge, a Warrensville Heights Democrat who leads the largely Black 11th congressional district, which includes Cleveland
"I am deeply sadden to hear of the passing of my former colleague, George Voinovich," said Fudge in a press statement to Cleveland Urban News.Com. "I send my deepest condolences to the Voinovich family and everyone throughout our state who knew and loved him."
Voinovich did not seek re-election to the Senate in 2010, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. He was succeeded by current Sen Rob Portman, also a Republican, and in a heated battle for his seat this November against Democrat Ted Strickland, a former Ohio governor, and former member of Congress.
"George Voinovich was one of the great mayors of Cleveland, Rep Bill Patmon told Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's most read digital Black newspaper.
Voinovich is survived by his wife of 53 years, Janet Voinovich, three children, and multiple grandchildren.
A daughter, Molly, preceded him in death after being hit by a van in 1979 that ran a red light. She was nine-years-old.