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SILVER, DON

SILVER, DON ( 16 Nov. 1923 - 13 Oct. 1997) was a reporter and editorial writer for the CLEVELAND PRESS who drove efforts to establish the Regional Transit Authority and the passage of a sales tax to fund its operation.

He was born in Wooster to Donald Clark Silver and Marie Fravel Silver Shirk . The family moved to Canton, where Silver graduated from Lehman High School in 1941. He joined the Army Air Force and spent 34 months with the 380th Bomber Group of the Fifth Air Force in the Pacific. He was co-pilot on a B-24 Liberator that bombed Japanese installations on Formosa and the China coast. When World War II ended he was a second lieutenant.

He attended Cleveland College and Kent State University before transferring to the University of Missouri's School of Journalism, graduating in 1950. He returned to Canton to become news director for radio station WAND, but in 1951 became a reporter for the financial department of the Press. He was named automotive editor in 1954, assistant business editor in 1959, and business editor two years later. He continued to write about cars, and was transportation writer, op-ed page editor, and editorial writer until 1982 when the newspaper ceased publication. Beginning with a cover story on 1 January 1974, Silver led the Press's campaign to expand the Cleveland Transit System to the suburbs. He traveled to other major cities to research their systems, then reported on how the community stood to benefit from improved transit services, as well as how it could finance the operation through local tax subsidies and federal grants. By the end of 1974, the RTA was a reality (see GREATER CLEVELAND REGIONAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY), and Silver was recognized for exceptional public service reporting by the Scripps-Howard Foundation. He was also nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of fraud and graft on a highway construction project. After the Press folded, he became a regular contributor to Ohio Motorist magazine, and wrote articles for several other publications.

He was an elder at the Euclid Avenue Christian Church, and in 1993, he wrote a history of the parish as part of its sesquicentennial celebration. He also wrote a family history for his grandchildren. He was president of Meals on Wheels of Cleveland Heights in 1993 and 1994, and a volunteer with the program. He was a member of the American Newspaper Guild Local One. He married Margaret Cossaloom in 1951 and they had a daughter, Susan, and a son, James. Mr. Silver died of complications from cancer at Kethley House in Cleveland. He is buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY