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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

RANKIN, ALFRED M. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

RANKIN, ALFRED M. (19 July 1913-23 Jan. 1994), a corporate and estate lawyer by profession, was best known for his extensive commitments to community service, and especially for his work on behalf of the CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA.

Son of Henry P. and Anne Marshall Rankin, Alfred was born in Beaver, PA. When he was a child, the family moved to Cleveland where he attended UNIVERSITY SCHOOL. He then earned his bacchalaureate and professional degrees from Yale College and Yale Law School.

Back in Cleveland, he joined the firm of THOMPSON, HINE & FLORY, eventually becoming senior partner. On 30 Mar. 1940, he wed Clara L. Taplin, and they raised five sons: Alfred M., Jr., Thomas, Clairborne, Roger, and Bruce.

During WORLD WAR II, he served as a Naval intelligence officer aboard the carrier USS Tripoli.

Returning to Cleveland, Rankin began a distinguished career of service to Cleveland institutions. His commitments included: WESTERN RESERVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY, UNIVERSITY CIRCLE, INC., the YMCA, Cleveland Zoological Society (see CLEVELAND METROPARKS ZOO), the SHAKER LAKES Nature Center, HAWKEN SCHOOL, the Boys Scouts, and the CLEVELAND SOCIETY FOR THE BLIND, to which he was particularly devoted. He also served as president of Cleveland's and trustee of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

He is probably best remembered, however, for his long service to the MUSICAL ARTS ASSN., parent organization of the Cleveland Orchestra. He joined its board in 1948, became its president in 1968 and chairman in 1983. He guided the efforts to hire music directors Loren Maazel and Christoph von Dohnanyi and was a key figure in the planning and development of Blossom Music Center. Rankin was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.

Last Modified: 21 Jul 1997 03:42:29 PM

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