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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

RATNER, MAX - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

RATNER, MAX (26 Dec. 1907-31 May 1995), a business executive, Jewish community leader, and philanthropist was born Meyer Ratowczer, the son of Moishe and Pesha (Koppelman) Ratowczer in Bialystok, Russia (now Poland). He attended German- and Hebrew-sponsored schools in Bialystok. In 1920 he and his family, emigrated to America, following the lead of his brother Charles. The family arrived in Cleveland in 1921 and there adopted the Ratner surname.

The family settled on Cleveland's east side, where Max Ratner attended and graduated from Glenville High School. In 1925 he began working at the family's lumber business. He graduated from CLEVELAND-MARSHALL LAW SCHOOL in 1929 and began working as an attorney. Along with his brothers Charles and LEONARD RATNER† he was one of the founders of Forest City Materials (later FOREST CITY ENTERPRISES, INC.), which he incorporated in 1929. He served as president of the company from 1929 until 1975 and then as chairman of the board from 1975 until his death.

Ratner was also widely known for his work in the Jewish and Cleveland civic communities as well as for his efforts of behalf of Israel, especially through building that nation's economy. Locally he served as president of PARK SYNAGOGUE in the late 1960s. He was a founder (1978) and later president of the New York-based American-Israeli Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and one of the organizers of Israel's Electro-Chemical Industries, Ltd., also serving as that company's president.

Ratner married Betty Wohlvert on 7 May 1939. They had four sons: Charles (Chuck), Mark, James, and Ronald. Ratner died in SHAKER HEIGHTS. and was buried in Park Synagogue Cemetery, BEACHWOOD.

Last Modified: 21 Jul 1997 04:16:56 PM

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