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100th anniversary of the birth of
Cleveland Mayor Ralph J. Perk
Cleveland State University
Michael Schwarz Library
January 17, 2014


Ralph J. Perk served as the 52nd mayor of Cleveland, Ohio. He was born on January 19, 1914 which makes this the 100th anniversary of his birth.

A celebration commemorating the event was held on January 17, 2014 in the Michael Schwarz Library of Cleveland State University (CSU).

Ralph Perk event in Michael Schwarz Library of Cleveland State University


Dr. Glenda Thornton, Director of the Michael Schwarz Library, welcomed the crowd to the event. Dr. Thornton said that it was fitting that the first online Mayoral archive at CSU is about Mayor Perk because he was 'the People's Mayor' and a strong supporter of CSU.

Dr. Glenda Thornton

Dr. Glenda Thornton



Dr. Glenda Thornton


William C. Barrow, Special Collections Librarian at the Schwarz Library, told of the 50,000+ items available online at the Cleveland Memory Project.

William C. Barrow

William C. Barrow



Dr. Richard Klein, Perk Project Coordinator and CSU Faculty Member said he found the perfect quote describing Ralph Perk from Walter Lippmann about the final test of a leader. Klein told how Perk loved the city and that Cleveland was his city.

Dr. Richard Klein

Dr. Richard Klein



Dr. Klein told how his class had been discussing Mayor Perk while he was a student at John Carroll University. He then told how he first met Mayor Perk.



Dr. Klein explained how he met with the American Nationalities Movement to get started on the Perk Project. His research led him to believe that Ralph Perk was the best mayor that Cleveland ever had.

Dr. Richard Klein



Judge Rocky Perk, President of the American Nationalities Movement, said that his father was everyone's friend - regardless of party or religion or whatever.

Judge Rocky Perk

Judge Rocky Perk



Judge Perk found it interesting that some in the media criticized Mayor Perk for his regional approach but others try to claim credit for it.



Mary Rose Oakar with Ed and Irene Morrow

Mary Rose Oakar with Ed and Irene Morrow


Taras Szmagala, Vice President of the American Nationalities Movement, worked with Cleveland Mayor Ralph J. Perk. He told stories of the Mayor and told how the American Nationalities Movement sprung out of the Captive Nations Law.

Taras Szmagala

Taras Szmagala



Richard Klein, Rocky Perk, Mary Rose Oakar, Taras Szmalaga,  Irene Morrow and Vlad Rus

Richard Klein, Rocky Perk, Mary Rose Oakar, Taras Szmalaga, Irene Morrow and Vlad Rus



Irene Morrow, past president of the American Nationalities Movement, worked very closely with Cleveland Mayor Ralph J. Perk.

Irene Morrow

Irene Morrow



Irene Morrow


Congresswoman Mary Rose Oakar told about the first time she met Mayor Ralph Perk.

Congresswoman Mary Rose Oakar

Congresswoman Mary Rose Oakar

One of the stories that Congresswoman Mary Rose Oakar told of Cleveland Mayor Ralph J. Perk was his support of the Cleveland Ballet.



Grace Kudukis and August Pust

Grace Kudukis and August Pust


The Congresswoman also told told about all the money Cleveland got because of his move to regionalism - even years after he was out of office.

Congresswoman Mary Rose Oakar

Congresswoman Mary Rose Oakar



Mary Rose Oakar also told how Mayor Ralph Perk started the Historic Preservation in Cleveland.



Dr. Vlad Rus, Executive Secretary of the American Nationalities Movement, worked closely with Cleveland Mayor Ralph J. Perk. He told stories of the Mayor at the celebration. Rus said that Mayor Perk was hard working and had integrity - joking that he took a vow of poverty to prevent corruption.

Dr. Vlad Rus

Dr. Vlad Rus



This personal integrity and "vow of poverty" is one of the reasons that he remained on East 49th Street his whole life. Judge Rocky Perk told how he died a proud and happy man on East 49th Street in Cleveland.



Irene Morrow and Ralph (Rocky) Perk Jr. presented memorabilia from Mayor Perk to Dr. Richard Klein.

Rocky Perk, Richard Klein and Irene Morrow

Rocky Perk, Richard Klein and Irene Morrow

Spirit of Freedom statue

Spirit of Freedom statue

Vlad Rus, Irene Morrow, Richard Klein and Rocky Perk with statue

Vlad Rus, Irene Morrow, Richard Klein
and Rocky Perk with statue




After the formal program, a reception was held which included a birthday cake for Mayor Perk.

birthday cake for Mayor Perk

Vlad Rus, Glenda Thornton, Richard Klein, Rocky Perk, Irene Morrow

Vlad Rus, Glenda Thornton, Richard Klein,
Rocky Perk and Irene Morrow


Cleveland International Hall of Fame members at the event - August Pust, Mary Rose Oakar, Rocky perk (for his father Ralph), Irene Morrow and Vlad Rus

Cleveland International Hall of Fame members at the event
August Pust, Mary Rose Oakar, Rocky Perk (for his father Ralph),
Irene Morrow and Vlad Rus





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