Frank Lausche

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Frank John Lausche

In office
January 3, 1957 – January 3, 1969
Preceded by George Bender
Succeeded by William B. Saxbe

Governor of Ohio
In office
January 8, 1945 – January 13, 1947
Preceded by John W. Bricker
Succeeded by Thomas J. Herbert
In office
January 10, 1949 – January 3, 1957
Preceded by Thomas J. Herbert
Succeeded by John William Brown

Chairman of the National Governors Association
In office
June 18, 1950 – September 30, 1951
Preceded by Frank Carlson (Kansas)
Succeeded by Frederick Valdemar Erastus "Val" Peterson (Nebraska)

Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio
In office
January 1, 1942 – December 31, 1944
Preceded by Edward J. Blythin
Succeeded by Thomas A. Burke

Born November 14, 1895
Cleveland, Ohio
Died April 21, 1990 (aged 94)
Cleveland, Ohio
Resting place Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Jane O. Sheal Lausche

Louis and Frances Milavec Lausche

Alma mater Cleveland State University
(Bachelor of Laws)

Frank John Lausche (pronounced LOW SHE) (November 14, 1895 – April 21, 1990) was a big-city Democrat politician of Slovenian descent from his native Cleveland, Ohio. He served two terms in the United States Senate from 1957 to 1969). He was twice the governor of his state from 1945 to 1947 and 1949 to 1957. He was also the 47th mayor of Cleveland from 1942 to 1944. .


In 1911, after the death of his older brother, Lausche dropped out of the Central Institute Preparatory School and began working to help support his family but managed to find time for baseball. Recruited as a third baseman by the Duluth White Sox in Duluth, Minnesota, he lagged in the hitting of curve balls and was released after thirty-one games. He then signed with a semi-professional team in Virginia in St. Louis County, Minnesota, located on the Mesabi Iron Range. He left after two weeks and returned to playing amateur ball in Cleveland. He tried baseball once more with the Lawrence, Massachusetts Barristers.[1]

In 1917, he enlisted in the United States Army after the American entry into World War I and completed high school in the military. While at Camp Gordon, near Atlanta, Georgia, Lausche joined the camp's baseball team. He was promoted to second lieutenant after eight months and assigned to officers' training school. His success in baseball kept him from the front lines of battle.[1]

Legal and political career

In 1919, Lausche entered the Cleveland-Marshall School of Law and did not report for spring training.[2] He graduated from law school in 1921, ranked second in his class.[3]

Lausche served as Municipal Court judge from 1932 to 1937 and Common Pleas Court judge from 1937 to 1941, before winning election as mayor in 1941.[1]

Lausche served as mayor until 1944, when he first won election as governor, the first Roman Catholic in that position when term were for two years. He was narrowly defeated in 1946, a heavily Republican year by the Republican Thomas H. Herbert (1894–1974) but rebounded in 1948 by unseating Herbert. He served four consecutive terms from 1949 to 1957. In the 1950 gubernatorial election, he defeated state Treasurer Don H. Ebright; in 1952, he beat then Cincinnati Mayor Charles Phelps Taft, II (1897–1983), the youngest son of former U.S. President William Howard Taft. In 1954, he toppled state Auditor James J. Rhodes, who later became governor himself. Lausche resigned in early 1957, having won election to the United States Senate in November 1956; he unseated Republican George Bender.

In his first term in the Senate, Lausche threatened to support Republican William F. Knowland of California as the Senate Majority Leader rather than future U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, but he did not do so. The plain-spoken old school politician, Lausche built a coalition of ethnic voters in Cleveland. He was even considered for the Republican vice-presidential nomination by Dwight D. Eisenhower in both 1952 and 1956, but the selection went to Senator Richard M. Nixon of California. Coincidentally, Lausche lost his Senate seat the same year that Nixon was elected president. With his bipartisan and independent approach to politics, Lausche was easily re-elected to the Senate in 1962 at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1968, organized labor turned against him, and he was rather handily defeated in the Democratic primary by later Governor John Joyce Gilligan (1921–2013). In the general election, however, Gilligan lost to Moderate Republican state attorney general William B. Saxbe won the seat.

In his later years, Lausche and his wife, the former Jane O. Sheal (1903–1981), resided in Bethesda, Maryland. Not long before his death, Lausche was admitted to the Slovenian Home for the Age, where he died of congestive heart failure. Pope John Paul II named Lausche a Knight of St. John of Malta, the highest civilian honor that can be bestowed by the church. The Lausches are interred at Calvary Cemetery in southeastern Cleveland.[4]

The Frank J. Lausche State Office Building in Cleveland, the Ohio Expo Center in the capital city of Columbus, and Lausche Avenue in east Cleveland are named in his honor.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 James E. Odenkirk, Frank J. Lausche: Ohio's Great Political Maverick (Wilmington, Ohio: Orange Frazer, 2005), p. 56.
  2. Odenkirk, p. 57
  3. Burt Folkart, Frank Lausche: Ohio Governor, Senator," Los Angeles Times, April 23, 1990.
  4. Odenkirk, p. 371.

External links

  • Profile at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • Profile at Find a Grave