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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

NORTH, JESSE (JACK) E.

NORTH, JESSE (JACK) E.

NORTH, JESSE (JACK) E., (15 May 1884-1 July 1953) was a nationally recognized leader in the electrical industry and active in a variety of philanthropic activities in northeastern Ohio. North was born in Dayton, Ohio, to Enoch North, day laborer, and Ida Bond North. He completed high school at New Carlisle, Ohio in 1902.

North's work in the electrical industry began when he obtained a position as substation operator for the Dayton Springfield & Urbana Electric Railway. In 1919, North came to Cleveland for a newly created position, Special Representative for Electrical Trade Relations for the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company (CEI). He was promoted to Manager for Residential Sales in 1943 and retired from CEI in 1949.

North came to national prominence through his efforts for the Electrical League of Cleveland (see ELECTRICAL LEAGUE OF NORTHERN OHIO, a cooperative organization of electrical dealers, manufacturers, jobbers, and contractors, aimed at increasing consumption of electricity and electrical equipment in Cleveland. North devised the League's first active promotional program in 1920, the same year he was elected Treasurer. In 1921, North became League vice-president, and in1923 was elected to the first of 26 consecutive terms as president.

The electrical industry awarded North its McGraw Award for Co-Operation in 1934 for his Depression-era accomplishments. North kept the League solvent and expanded marketing programs in a period of shrinking promotional expenditures. He began League courses on electrical merchandising and business management designed to combat joblessness and was credited with inspiring the establishment of leagues in other cities.

An active Mason, North also sat on the board of several of Cleveland's charitable and philanthropic organizations. As a national leader in the electrical industry, he was the first chairman of the National Electrical League Council, vice president for the Society for Electrical Development, and president of the International Association of Electrical Leagues. North's ideas for League programs and his leadership of the Cleveland, national and international electrical leagues helped to guide CEI, the League, and the industry as a whole toward the promotion of full integration of electrical power into daily life.

North married Flora Braun on June 12, 1906.

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Electrical League of Cleveland, Inc. Records. WRHS