CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Even after going to Columbus as governor, George Voinovich couldn't help showing off Cleveland.
Sen. George Voinovich died in his home Sunday at the age of 79.
He returned to show off the waterfront rail line and other city assets to travel and tour writers in an effort to promote the city he loved, pointing out attractions saying "All of this right over here is the new complex, the sports. Gund Arena and Jacobs Field."
Claire Rosacco went right from college to city hall to join the staff of then new mayor Voinovich, a 10-year stint and said, "He really helped young people, he gave them great responsibility and then he helped them succeed, he mentored us." She was there while a mini building boom went on ... North Point, the BP building and more.
But, not all is easy in politics. Voinovich's passion for people evident when state budget troubles forced a cut in welfare benefits. He was asked what he'd say to protesters outside. His response began with a smile and ended with tears, "Whether they believe it or not, George Voinovich really cares for his fellow man. That's why I'm in the business. I'm doing the best I can with what we got."
Rosacco says it reflects his true person. "He was so much more than an elected public official, he was really a public servant in his heart," he said.
It is somehow appropriate that a man known for building bridges, for reaching out to people with opposite opinions is honored in his home town by a bridge -- the George V. Voinovich Innerbelt bridge.
The national scene will be missing a major player when the GOP comes to town next month. Voinovich was a delegate and on the platform committee. "He was asked to be on the transition committee for whoever was going to be the new president and that fact speaks volumes about what both parties thought about this man," said Rosacco.
If there ever was a man who reflected Cleveland, you could argue it was Voinovich. His funeral service will be held at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Euclid at 10 a.m. A public viewing is scheduled for Thursday at city hall. (Hours will be announced soon.)
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking contributions be made in George's memory to the Molly Voinovich Memorial Fund c/o Cleveland Foundation 1422 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44115; Catholic Education Endowment Fund 1401 E. 9th St., Cleveland, OH 44114 or to Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School 175 E. 200th St., Euclid, OH 44119.
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