DI LEONE, PETER. Jr. (2 Feb. 1908-16 Sept. 1998) was a lawyer, a labor expert, and served as an advocate of free speech while president of the CITY CLUB OF CLEVELAND. He was born in Providence, RI, to Antoinette (Juliana) and Peter Di Leone but was raised on Adelbert Rd., adjacent to Western Reserve University (See CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY). His father, a socialist who left Italy in 1905, worked as a photographer. Peter Di Leone Jr. graduated from Adelbert College in 1931 and graduated from Western Reserve University Law School in 1936.
As a lawyer, Di Leone specialized in labor arbitration through the National Labor Relations Board and the selective National Academy of Arbitrators and became a partner in the firm, Hausser & Di Leone. He was one of a small number of experts chosen as permanent arbitrators for rubber companies and the United Rubber Workers. He was also the arbitrator in 1965 for the Cleveland Transit System (See GREATER CLEVELAND REGIONAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY) and the Transit Union. He won numerous awards for his work and was elected to the board of governors of the National Academy of Arbitrators. He taught labor relations at several colleges, including CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY, which named a program in his honor at the Cleveland State University law school.
Di Leone joined the City Club of Cleveland while an undergraduate in 1930 and subsequently became known as the "Pillar" of the organization. He served as the president of the club and of the City Club Forum Foundation. Di Leone, who supported the Civil Rights Movement, had his commitment to freedom of speech tested in 1967 when the City Club debated whether or not to allow segregationist Alabama Gov. George Wallace to speak. Di Leone defended Wallace's right to appear, but felt obligated to picket in protest outside of the club. In 1987, he became the first person to be inducted into the City Club Hall of Fame while still living.
Di Leone was a reformer in Democratic politics and served as the vice-chairman of the CUYAHOGA COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY. In 1971, he forced the party to allow members of the Executive Committee to vote by secret ballot on party matters.
In 1938, Di Leone married Alice Broekel and together they had two daughters: Linda Klein and Paulette Novak. Di Leone died in his home in Shaker Heights, OH and is buried in MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, OH at Knollwood Cemetery.