Edward J. Blythin
|46th Mayor of Cleveland|
|Preceded by||Harold Hitz Burton|
|Succeeded by||Frank J. Lausche|
October 10, 1884|
Newmarket, Flintshire, Wales, United Kingdom
|Died||February 14, 1958
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Jane Rankin (m. 1913)|
|Children||Robert, Arthur, William, Glen, Jane|
|Alma mater||Cleveland School of Law (JD)|
Life and career
Blythin was born October 10, 1884, in the small village of Newmarket in Flintshire, Wales, United Kingdom. His father was a farmer. Relatively well-educated, he became a bookkeeper for a coal company in Wales.
In 1906, he emigrated, ending up in Cleveland, Ohio, where he landed another bookkeeping job, for a real estate agency, a job he held for 10 years. During this time, he attended Cleveland Law School at night, earning his law degree in 1916.
Blythin then turned to the practice of law. In 1935, Blythin accepted appointment as an assistant to the Cleveland city law director. He became law director in 1940. In January 1941, when Harold H. Burton resigned as Cleveland mayor in order to take a seat in the United States Senate, Blythin, as law director, automatically succeeded Burton to the mayor's office. In November, however, Blythin failed to win election to the seat, losing to Democrat Frank Lausche.
In 1943, Blythin left private law practice to accept an executive position at Western Reserve University.
In 1949, Blythin was elected to a judgeship in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, where he served until his death. During his tenure on the court, Blythin presided over the notorious 1954 murder trial of Sam Sheppard. His stewardship of the trial was later overturned by the United States Supreme Court which termed the trial "a Roman Holiday." In fact, famous columnist Dorothy Kilgallen reputedly wrote that in a private conference just prior to the trial beginning, Blythin told her, in his opinion, Sheppard was guilty. Some of his critics wagged that Blythin's Welsh accent became more pronounced as he got older.
Personal life and death
Blythin married Jane Rankin on April 3, 1913, and they had five children, Robert, Arthur, Glen, Jane, and William.
Judge Blythin suffered a severe heart attack at his home in Parma Heights, Ohio, on February 12, 1958. He was admitted to Lutheran Hospital in Cleveland, where he suffered a second heart attack and died on February 14. He was buried in Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland.
- "Final Rites for Blythin to be Monday". The Plain Dealer. February 15, 1958. p. 1.
- Bob Considine, "Welsh Immigrant Now Presiding Over Sheppard Trial is Real Character" Corsican Daily Sun (November 8, 1954): 12. via Newspapers.com
- "Blythin Stricken, 'Critical'". The Plain Dealer. February 13, 1958. p. 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
Harold H. Burton
|Mayor of Cleveland
Frank J. Lausche