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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

SPECTOR, SIDNEY - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

SPECTOR, SIDNEY (16 Sept. 1915 - 24 Jan. 1999) was a national authority on the housing and healthcare needs of the elderly. He was born in Cleveland to Eva (Crystal) and Abraham Spector, a tailor in a clothing factory. He attended Glenville High School and Miami University where he received a BA. In 1943 he married Zelda Garber, prior to serving as a gunnery officer in the Philippines during World War II. After the war, Spector earned a master's degree at the University of Chicago and completed course work towards a doctorate. He joined the staff of the Council of State Governments as Director of Research. He then served five years as the director of the Interstate Clearing House on Mental Health and as executive secretary for the conference of chief justices. In 1959 Spector moved to Washington D.C. to head the staff of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging. In the 1960s, Spector was a high ranking official at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He moved back to Cleveland in 1967 to serve as a director of the National Housing Associates firm. After Carl B. Stokes† was elected mayor, Spector accepted a temporary position in City Hall as a emissary to Washington departments and agencies. Spector later became the first chairman of the Ohio Commission on Aging and headed a consulting firm: Senior Housing Associates.

As an official in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Spector was responsible for steering Great Society programs through Congress. He helped draft the original Medicare legislation and served as a liaison for President Lyndon Johnson's administration with Congress while Model Cities and antipoverty legislation was enacted. Through his consulting work in Cleveland, Spector assisted in the construction of Evergreen Apartments on Payne Avenue - the state's first subsidized housing complex for Asian seniors. He served on the boards of the MENORAH PARK CENTER FOR THE AGING and the JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER and was a member of the CITY CLUB OF CLEVELAND.

Spector and his wife Zelda had two children: Richard S. and Abbey N. (Skillings). He died at University Hospitals and is buried at Park Synagogue Cemetery.

Last Modified: 16 May 2001 11:26:08 AM

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