Ralph S. Locher

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Ralph S. Locher
50th Mayor of Cleveland
In office
Preceded by Anthony J. Celebrezze
Succeeded by Carl B. Stokes
Personal details
Born Ralph Sidney Locher
(1915-07-24)July 24, 1915
Moreni, Romania
Died June 18, 2004(2004-06-18) (aged 88)
Political party Democratic
Occupation Politician, lawyer

Ralph Sidney Locher (July 24, 1915 – June 18, 2004) was a Romanian-born American politician of the Democratic party who served as the 50th mayor of Cleveland, Ohio.

Locher was born in Moreni, Romania, outside Bucharest in 1915. He graduated from Bluffton College and was admitted to the Ohio bar. He became a close associate of Frank J. Lausche, later Governor of Ohio and U.S. Senator, who nurtured his career, first appointing him as secretary of the Ohio State Industrial Commission in 1945. They were instrumental in building the "cosmopolitan Democrats" movement of urban ethnic voters. Locher was law director of Cleveland, Ohio under Mayor Anthony J. Celebrezze beginning in 1953, then succeeded him as mayor when Celebrezze was appointed United States Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare by President John F. Kennedy on July 14, 1962.

After winning a special election in October 1962 to complete Celebreeze's fifth term, Locher served two terms of his own as mayor of Cleveland. His tenure was marked by increasing racial tensions in the city, culminating in the Hough Riots of 1966. On April 25, 1967, Locher declared that three recent visitors to the city: Floyd McKissick, national director of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), Alabama governor George C. Wallace, and civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were "extremists."

On October 3, 1967, Locher lost the Cleveland Democratic primary election to Carl B. Stokes, who he had narrowly defeated in the 1965 general election. Stokes went on to defeat Republican Seth Taft in the general election, becoming the first African American mayor of a major U.S. city.

Locher went on to be elected a probate court judge in 1970, and was elected to the Ohio Supreme Court in 1977, serving two terms. Though a Democrat, he became increasingly conservative as he got older and with longevity in office frequently voting with Republican justices on worker's compensation and other employment issues. He died in 2004.

Notable Actions[edit]

In 1965 he banned all rock concerts in the city following a Rolling Stones performance.[1]



  • The Encyclopedia Of Cleveland History by Cleveland Bicentennial Commission (Cleveland, Ohio), David D. Van Tassel (Editor), and John J. Grabowski (Editor) ISBN 0-253-33056-4
Political offices
Preceded by
Anthony J. Celebrezze
Mayor of Cleveland
Succeeded by
Carl B. Stokes
Legal offices
Preceded by
Leonard J. Stern
Ohio Supreme Court Justice
Succeeded by
Alice Robie Resnick